Qatar awards power system upgrade contracts

The Qatar General Electricity & Water Corporation (Kahramaa) has awarded a number of contracts to international firms to undertake work on the expansion and modernization of its electricity transmission network. The largest contract, worth €290m ($347m), was won by Siemens Power Transmission and Distribution to supply 14 new substations and modernize three others.

A contract for €140m went to Areva T & D for the supply and installation of six gas-insulated substations for the transmission network in Doha. These will link up with the country’s national control centre supplied by Areva and opened in 1999 and a distribution control centre that Areva is due to commission by summer 2006. Kahramaa also awarded a $170m contract to ABB that includes power cables and 12 substations.

Qatar has seen double-digit growth rates and significant investment in the country’s infrastructure in recent years with substantial new development driving up demand for electricity.

Lithuania to get supercritical control

AB Lietuvos Elekrine has appointed Emerson Process Management to install a new instrumentation and control system at its Elektrenai facility, Lithuania’s largest supercritical gas and oil fired power station. Under the $20.2m contract Emerson will install its PlantWeb digital plant architecture with its Ovation control system at three 300 MW supercritical units. This will improve operation and allow higher steam temperature and pressure making electricity generation more efficient while lowering emissions.

The Russian-designed plant has eight power generation units overall with a total capacity of 1800 MW. The plant has been used as a back-up for Lithuania’s Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant, but with the Ignalina plant scheduled for closure by 2009, Elektrenai will become responsible for supplying 70 per cent of the country’s electricity needs.

Emerson will retrofit the original control systems for the boilers and turbines, plus install new vibration monitoring equipment, instrumentation, valves, actuators, switchgear and electrical protection to enable the plant to meet its increased performance expectations.

GE Energy turbines to power Nigerian gas generation

GE Energy has been selected to supply 18 Frame 9E gas turbines for five gas fired power projects being undertaken by the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Power and Steel. The projects are all in the Niger Delta area and will contribute more than 2000 MW to the country’s electricity grid.

The plants will run solely on gas and will harness Nigeria’s abundant gas reserves, which rank as tenth largest in the world.

In addition to the gas turbines, GE will supply generators and transformers, will supervise the erection of the power plants and other services.

Nigeria’s government plans to increase the country’s power generation to 10 GW in the next two years.

IFC backs African fuel cell initiative

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has agreed to provide $3m financing for a programme to roll-out hydrogen fuel cell back-up power systems in South Africa. The three-year initiative has been implemented with IST Holdings, a Pretoria-based distributor for Plug Power fuel cell systems and has resulted in an order for 80 out of a planned 400 GenCore systems from Plug Power.

“We see great potential for the deployment of the fuel cell systems in countries such as South Africa, and we are committed to grow and develop the market,” said Harry Coetzee, IST Group chief executive. IST said that the supply of fuel cells in South Africa under the IFC programme was a logical step to introducing fuel cells and perhaps other renewable energy projects, including wind and solar, across the African continent.

Alstom wins Oman power project

The Sohar Aluminium Company has awarded a €425m turnkey contract to Alstom to build a 1000 MW gas fired combined cycle power plant to supply a new aluminium smelter in Oman.

Work on the project, which will be the country’s largest power plant, commenced mid-December and is scheduled for completion in June 2008.

Mitsubishi supplies PBMR

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) is to supply components to the pilot Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR) project in South Africa under contracts worth approximately $15m. MHI will undertake the basic design of the core barrel assembly (CBA), an integral part of the reactor pressure vessel and will also provide forgings and procurement of items for the CBA.

News digest

Bahrain: A consortium comprising International Power, Suez Energy and Sumitomo has been awarded preferred bidder status for the Bahrain government’s Al Hidd IWPP acquisition and expansion project.

Bulgaria: US energy group AES along with a consortium of banks have signed loan agreements for the $1.2bn Maritza-Iztok 1 coal fired power plant. A 15-year power purchase agreement has been agreed with Bulgaria’s state owned electricity monopoly, NEC.

Georgia: The government of Georgia is to recommence construction work on the $500m Khudoni hydroelectric power plant, the largest in the country, having secured a $6m grant from the World Bank.

Hungary: Hungary’s MVM and German utilities RWE and EnBW, owners of Hungary’s biggest coal fired power plant, plan to invest €65m ($78.6m) in uprating capacity and efficiency at the Matra plant.

Lebanon: A long-stalled plan to at least partly privatize the transmission and distribution activities of state electricity company Electricite Du Liban is to be revived and completed within the next two or three years.

Qatar: GE Energy has signed a contract with the Qatar Electricity & Water Company for the expansion of the Ras Abu Fontas B-2 power and desalination plant. GE will supply three of its Frame 9FA gas turbines for the new project.

Russia: Finnish energy company Fortum has agreed to acquire 24.83 per cent of the shares in Kolenergo, a major power company serving the Kola region of North West Russia from mining company MMC Norilsk Nickel.

Russia: The board of RAO Unified Energy Systems of Russia has approved the planned acquisition of a controlling stake in power equipment manufacturer Power Machines Group. RAO said it hoped that rival bidder Siemens would become a strategic investor.

Serbia: In cooperation with the World Bank and European Reconstruction Agency, the Serbian government is to appoint a strategic consultant to advise on a plan for privatization and the further development of the state owned Serbian Electric Power Company.

Syria: The Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership (FEMIP) is granting to PEEGT a €200m ($242m) loan for the construction of the 750 MW Deir Azzour combined cycle power plant on the Euphrates river in eastern Syria.

UAE: The Federal Electricity and Water Authority in Dubai has awarded ABB a contract worth $15m for power equipment, including three 132 kV GIS stations to help meet growing demand for power in the northern parts of the UAE.