Around the Globe – International

Big players make moves in Poland’s power market

RWE, EDF and Gaz de France (GDF) have all recently signed deals in the Polish power market.

MEAG, a division of RWE, bought a 52.2 per cent stake in the Bedzin combined heat and power (chp) plant for zloty33.9m ($150.5m). The German firm has agreed to invest more than zloty96m in the plant.

Meanwhile, EDF in association with GDF has signed a deal with the Polish Treasury to take over two chp plants in the Baltic cities of Gdansk and Gdynia. The two units, operated by ZEW, have installed capacities of 243 MW and 110 MW, respectively.

The two companies are paying $65m for the plants and now control 45 per cent of ZEW between them.

EDF has said that it wants to control 15 per cent of the Polish energy market within two to three years. It already has a 15 per cent stake in the Wroclaw-based distribution company Kogeneracja and has a 58 per cent interest in the Kracow chp plant.

The company says that its investment in the Kracow plant has already paid off, with the power station producing a profit of more than $8m in 1999 – a margin of about nine per cent.

Oman awards private plant contract

Oman has awarded a contract to build a 240 MW gas fired private power plant to the UK’s National Power.

The al-Sharqiya power plant will be built on a build-own-operate-transfer basis under a 15-year agreement. The Oman Tender Board said National Power would have to renew the agreement at the end of the term.

Oman also said it was evaluating bids from seven international and local firms for a power project at al-Kamil in the east. This project is expected to go into operation in April 2002. In July, Oman also said it was evaluating bids to build a 400 MW power plant on the coast at Barka.

Oman has been pressing ahead with privatization plans in an attempt to diversify its economy away from oil, which accounted for some 65 per cent of its income in 1998-99.

The country already has one private power plant in operation at al-Manah, the first among the Gulf Arab States, and is in negotiations with developers of another private plant in the southern city of Salalah.

Turkey scraps plans for first nuclear power plant

Turkey’s prime minister, Bulent Ecevit, has announced that Turkey is cancelling its plans to build its first nuclear power plant. He said the government could not afford the estimated $3-4bn cost of the plant planned for Akkuyu near the Mediterranean cost.

Turkey is planning to look at cheaper options to meet projected electricity demand and said that it would invest in natural gas and hydropower plants, while reducing energy wastage.

Ecevit said: “It is unnecessary for the time being, to invest in nuclear energy…our economic stability programme could seriously be hampered.” He said Turkey would reconsider building the plant in 10-20 years. He also pointed out that solar and wind plants would have become widespread by that time.

Turkey is suffering from an increasing energy shortage. Whole districts of Ankara and other cities had their natural gas supplies cut for several days during the past winter. The country is building power lines to buy more electricity from Bulgaria.

Several consortia had already tendered bids for the project.

Enel to build Jebel Ali CCGT

An Italian consortium led by Enel with the construction company Impreglio is to build a 920 MW power/desalination plant at Jebel Ali in Dubai. The contract is worth about $572.4m. The power station accounts for nearly $382m of the project and the desalination plant for the balance.

The plant will be the biggest in Dubai and the second largest in the entire Gulf. In addition to providing 920 MW of power, the plant will boast the world’s largest desalination units with a capacity of 180 million litres/day of water.

The plant, which will be built in 32 months, is part of Dubai’s programme to keep pace with the country’s rapidly growing economy.

Hungary delays liberalization

The Hungarian Ministry of Economic Affairs has said that liberalization of the country’s electricity market will be delayed for six months from the initial January 2001 date.

Peter Honig, chief of energy issues said: “The reason for the delay is that parliamentary approval of an amendment to the electricity bill has been suspended to the fall from June.”

The initial plan was to liberalize the market on January 1, 2001 for industrial consumers with a minimum annual consumption of 100 GWh.

News digest

Austria: The Austrian parliament has voted for a ban on importing electricity from the Czech Republic. This follows approval by the Czech State Nuclear Safety Office of a plan to load fuel at the controversial Temelin nuclear plant.

Bulgaria: US Citibank is to provide a loan of $77m for the modernization of two reactors at the Kozloduy nuclear power plant.

Estonia: The government has approved plans for NRG Energy to acquire a 49 per cent stake in Narva Power. The government will retain a 51 per cent stake in the company which owns a 3000 MW oil fired plant.

Iraq: General Electrical Projects has ordered two gas turbines of 159 MW each from Bharat Heavy Electricals (BHEL). The two separate orders, with a combined value of $198m, is the largest ever export order for BHEL. The contract was awarded under the UN’s ‘oil for food’ programme.

Malta: Israel’s Solel Solar Systems Ltd. is to embark on a $20m solar power plant on Malta’s island of Gozo. A feasibility study was expected to be completed by mid-August 2000 and groundbreaking for the plant is expected within one year.

Nigeria: Siemens AG has put Africa’s largest photovoltaic hybrid power supply system into service. The solar generator has a capacity of 51.6 kW (peak) and is linked to a 135 kVA diesel generator

Poland: US-based Babcock & Wilcox Company has signed an engineering and procurement contract with Fortum Engineering to supply a coal fired CFB to the new Tychy II power plant.

Russia: Unified Energy Systems is to revamp and delay by several years a restructuring plan which has been widely criticised for asset stripping.

Saudi Arabia: VA Tech Reyrolle has been awarded a contract to extend one of the country’s high voltage substations. The company will provide two bays of 380 kV switchgear and associated control and protection systems and balance of plant. Commissioning is scheduled for December 2000.

Tanzania: Mechmar Corp. Bhd, is optimistic that its Tanzanian power plant project, which has been plagued by tariff disputes, will begin operation this year. The Malaysian company’s project is the first IPP project in the country.

Turkey: An international consortium of Babcock Borsig Power and Gama Tekfen under the leadership of Siemens KWU is to build the 1300 MW coal fired Iskendurun plant. The contract was awarded by German IPP, Steag.

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