InterGen scope expanded

US-based power development company InterGen is to take a 30 per cent stake in Coral Energy as part of plans to expand InterGen’s scope in the North American energy markets. The majority of Coral’s natural gas pipeline, storage and power generation assets in the USA will be transferred to InterGen.

InterGen is a joint venture between Bechtel Enterprise Holdings Inc. and Royal Dutch/Shell. Coral Energy is Shell’s natural gas and energy trading arm. The deal, which will see Shell’s stake in InterGen increase to 68 per cent, also forms part of Shell’s plans to integrate its worldwide energy trading activities.

The move is designed to strengthen the alignment of assets with trading and marketing in North America. This new alignment will, say Shell and Bechtel, enable InterGen to leverage Shell’s strengths in both fuel supply and power marketing and trading. InterGen will work closely with Coral to increase its US power generation portfolio.

Shell announced in August plans to focus on energy trading activities through a new unit comprising a global network of trading companies operating under the banner of ‘Shell Trading’.

Europe to investigate Siemens-Framatome nuclear link

The European Commission has decided to investigate the proposed nuclear sector link-up between Germany’s Siemens and Framatome of France.

The alliance was originally announced in December 1999.

The Commission is concerned that the alliance would have a strong position in certain sectors of the nuclear market and so may not be compatible with the Common Market. It will examine the joint venture over the next four months and may negotiate with the two parent companies to ensure that competition is preserved.

Areas of particular concern to the Commission include nuclear fuels, control systems and reactor components. Framatome said that the Commission’s move had been expected and that the deal was likely to be approved by the end of 2000. The alliance would have a 41 per cent share in the nuclear fuels market, compared with 32 per cent for BNFL.

The alliance would entail the merger of their nuclear activities into a new company, in which Framatome would have a 66 per cent stake. Sales of the new company would be $2.88bn, putting it in first place in the market ahead of BNFL and GE.

Alstom reportstechnical difficulties

Power Engineering group Alstom Power has reported a number of technical difficulties in the introduction of the latest version of its advanced heavy duty gas turbine technology. The company says that it has identified and is currently implementing modifications.

Alstom said that the first B-rating of its GT24 and GT26 gas turbines are being introduced into service but that in the past few months some technical issues had arisen “that are not unusual in the commissioning of new hi-tech complex products of this type”. The first modified units were due to restart in August 2000, leaving some projects subject to delays.

The company also said that recent inspections had revealed a further localized deficiency with the machines, attributed to the turbine shrouds.

Alstom said that the costs of modifying the machines would not be significant, but that the real cost to Alstom would be in penalties paid for delayed projects.

Energy savings contract

US-based TXU Energy Services has signed a five-year contract with John Deere to provide gas, electricity and risk management services and to develop energy efficiency improvement projects for John Deere’s North American operations.

The $300m includes over 80 North American facilities, and TXU says that it expects to save John Deere $10m in energy procurement costs over the five-year term of the contract. TXU will provide John Deere with comprehensive energy management solutions.

New plant user group formed by DERA

DERA, a UK government agency, has joined forces with the US-based Boyce Consultancy to create a new power plant user-group style development programme called the International Power & Petroleum Consortium.

The new organization is aimed at solving practical power plant operational problems, obtaining reductions in life operating costs and improving plant availability. It will consist of members from both the power and petrochemical industries around the world.

One of the main goals of the consortium is to build a diagnostic database enabling members to compare the performance of their own machinery with the average for that type of machine.

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