Southeast Europe energy community formed

Ten Southeast European countries have signed up to an agreement with the European Union for the creation of an energy community to regulate the natural gas and electricity markets in the region. Signatories to the agreement included Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Italy, FYR of Macedonia, Romania, Serbia-Montenegro and Turkey.

The agreement is a signal of increasing cooperation and security in the region and prepares the way for future EU membership application from Balkan countries. European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso hailed the Treaty as “a major achievement for peace and stability in Europe”. An expansion of the agreement to cover trade in oil and oil products is planned.

Reports into the region’s electricity industry envisage an investment requirement in the region of around $25bn in the period to 2015, in order to bring the infrastructure up to EU standards.

Aggreko supplies temporary power plant

Power rental company Aggreko has supplied a 40 MW temporary power station to the Senegalese utility Société Nationale d’Electricité to supplement the grid supply and alleviate power constraints in the capital Dakar and beyond. Annual GDP growth averaging five per cent has placed increasing demands on the power infrastructure.

The 40 MW, 30 kV temporary power station was supplied in two 20 MW packages. Aggreko supplied a turnkey solution for the utility, including transformers and high voltage line.

Aggreko also supplied another temporary power solution in Senegal to meet the demands of a religious festival in Touba.

Canadians in Pole position

Canadian construction firm SNC-Lavalin has won an EPC contract worth $298m to complete a 460 MW lignite fired supercritical power plant in Poland for Elektrownia Patnow II (EPII). When completed in about 28 months, the plant will be Poland’s largest most efficient and environmentally clean brown coal unit.

The cost of the project is around $600m and the core investor in the special purpose company EPII is Patnow-Adamow-Konin (PAK). The new 460 MW unit is the first stage of PAK’s modernization programme. John Gillis, general manager of SNC-Lavalin, Thermal Division said the project would set new benchmarks: “This is a large state-of-the-art thermal power plant using advanced generation and environmental technologies.”

Awards made for GCC grid works

Supply and construction packages worth an estimated $3bn have been awarded by the Damman-based GCC Interconnection Authority in respect of the GCC electricity grid project.

Six companies won the 13 contracts for the first phase of construction, which is due for completion in 2008. The project will see the interconnection of the power grids of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain and the UAE.

ABB was selected for the six-substation package worth $470m, with Areva T&D being selected for the converter station package, valued at $190m. Areva will also provide a $30m-$35m control centre and telecommunications package.

Pirelli and Nexans were awarded a contract worth around $400m for a 40 km submarine cable linking Ras al-Qurrayah and Jasr.

Croatia gears up for growth

Croatia’s state-owned power monopoly Hrvatska Elektroprivreda (HEP) has agreed a seven-year €200m ($240m) loan facility with a consortium of local and foreign banks in order to fund its investment projects until 2008. Electricity consumption in Croatia is growing at 3-4 per cent per annum and the loan is to be spent on new facilities and the refurbishment and extension of existing ones, according to HEP president Ivan Mravak.

Plans include the construction of a new 100 MW power station in Zagreb and a 42 MW hydropower plant in Lesce as well as investment in expanding the grid network and in IT equipment.

  • HEP and Austria’s Verbund have signed a cooperation agreement to expand and improve Croatia’s power sector as Croatia begins accession negotiations with the EU.

Barka RFQ issued

The requests for proposals (RFP) for Oman’s latest independent water and power project (IWPP) at Barka is expected to be issued late October after a request for qualification was issued for the brownfield project.

Interested parties have to notify their interest to the country’s Ministry of National Economy.

Responses to the RFP will be required around the end of April 2006.

News digest

Bulgaria: The modernization of the Teshel hydropower owned by Bulgaria’s national electric company NEK has been completed by VA Tech Hydro, substantially increasing turbine efficiency.

Egypt: The Upper Egypt Electricity Production Company has awarded Hitachi and Sumitomo a Yen5bn ($43m) order for a 250 MW steam turbine power generation system for a new power plant 95 km south of Cairo.

Hungary: The International Atomic Energy Agency has declared Hungary’s sole nuclear power station at Paks in south central Hungary to be safe and suitable for a life extension.

Nigeria: Rolls Royce has won an $82m order from Technip on behalf of Total Upstream Nigeria to supply six RB211 industrial gas turbines for power generation for the Akpo oil & gas field offshore Nigeria.

Nigeria: The Nigerian government has secured a $172m loan from World Bank institution the International Development Agency to be invested in the country’s power transmission system.

Russia: Power and telecommunications cable company Nexans is to open its first manufacturing plant in Russia. The plant will have 200 employees and involve an upfront investment of €20m ($24m).

Russia: The International Atomic Energy Authority has warned that the concrete sarcophagus build over the fourth block of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant following the explosion in 1986 could become unstable and should be replaced within the next decade.

Russia: United Energy Systems’ board of directors has approved the acquisition of a 22.4 per cent stake in Power Machines.

Slovakia: The announcement that Slovakia’s National Property Fund is to begin selling off majority stakes in six municipal heating companies in November has resulted in at least ten companies signalling interest.

Slovenia: Despite an over-reliance on fossil fuels, a recent study has found that Slovenia’s ability to avert or recover from sudden or prolonged energy shocks is better than in 11 other Central and Eastern European countries.

UAE: Germany’s Fitchner has been appointed by the Dubai Electricity & Water Authority to act as consultants for the utility’s largest power and water project, the M station to be built at Jebel Ali.

Ukraine: Invensys Nuclear has won a contract from DICS Intertrade to supply four of its Tricon safety controllers for the pressurized water reactors at the Rovno nuclear power plant at Kuznetsovsk.

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