Turkey may resume Bulgaria power imports

After cutting off its power imports from Bulgaria, Turkey could resume supplies if differences are settled during forthcoming talks in Ankara.

Under an agreement between the two countries Turkey was to import electricity in exchange for investment in construction of the Upper Arda hydroelectricity project and Maritsa Highway. The dispute saw Turkey stop power from Bulgaria on April 22 this year after a long debated issue regarding Bulgaria’s failure to commit to the bilateral agreement for the implementation of two projects.

Turkish press have noted that one of the reasons for the cut off was Bulgaria’s failure to hire Turkish contractors to work on infrastructure projects for over four years. It was reported that the Turkish Electricity Trade and Contracting Inc. (TETAS), which made the cut-off decision, was not endorsed by the Turkish government and was hailed as ‘hasty’. If the agreement is not renewed, Bulgaria will have to find alternative export markets – Greece and Macedonia have both been mentioned.

Separately, Turkey has also stopped buying Russian gas. Turkey suspended imports after complaining that prices were too high.

News digest

Azerbaijan: Azerenergy plans to build two steam-gas power-producing units in 2004, at a total cost of $500m, said company president Etibar Pirverdiyev. The first unit, with a 500 MW capacity would be built at a cost of $300m and the second, at a cost of $200m, at the Severnaya State Regional Power Plant in Baku.

Czech Republic: CEZ will re-open the coal fired Tusimice power plant, closed down five years ago. The project which will cost some CK45bn ($1.2bn), will guarantee coal supply contracts for North Bohemian coal mines until 2060.

Estonia: After getting the Estonian Competition Board’s approval, the Finnish energy company Fortum finalized the purchase of a 60 per cent holding in the Tartu Energia remote heating company of the south Estonian city of Tartu.

Finland: GE Power Systems will supply a PG9171E (Frame 9E) gas turbine to Enprima Engineering of Finland. The plant is located west of the country, in Zielona Gora. It will produce 190 MW of electricity and 90 MW for district heating.

Hungary: Magyar Villamos Muvek (MVM – Hungarian Electricity Works) announced it will soon complete the development of a 90 km, 400 kV transmission line between Sandorfalva and Bekescsaba in the eastern part of the country. Construction of the power line has cost more than $30m.

Moldova: Parliament has recently amended the law on electricity. According to the amendments, the electricity market has to be liberalized within the period of March 2003 to March 2005.

Poland: The Polaniec power plant, a Polish holding of Belgian utility Tractebel, placed the sole offer for purchase of up to 85 per cent of the Dolna Odra power plant group in north-western Poland.

Poland: France’s Dalika Termika and SNET and Swedish state-owned Vattenfall all filed bids to buy at least ten per cent of the Polish heat and electricity generator in Lodz. The subject of negotiations will include the number of shares to be purchased, the price of shares along with other commitments.

Romania: Italy’s Enel, is willing to participate in the upgrade of six Romanian hydro power plants. Eugen Pena, Hidroelectrica general manager said the work can be carried out via public-private partnership programme.

UAE: Tokyo Electric Power Co and trader Mitsui and Co. said they have received an order from the UAE for a power generation and desalination plant. The total value of the order, from the Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority, is estimated at ¥250bn ($2bn).

CDC acquires controlling stake in Tanzania’s Songas project

CDC Globeleq, the emerging markets power company, has increased its stake in the Songas power project in Tanzania, to become owner.

CDC has targeted May 2004 to complete the project which will extract local natural gas and convert it to a clean, reliable source of power. Upon completion, Songas will meet 20 per cent of Tanzania’s electricity demand, supplying power to Dar es Salaam and the Tanzanian national grid.

The project will involve construction of a gas processing plant on Songo Songo Island, the laying of a 25 km pipeline from the island to Dar es Salaam and the acquisition and conversion of the Ubungo power station from oil to gas. CDC has already signed a 20-year power purchase agreement with the national utility Tanzania Electric Supply Company.

CEZ bring E.ON, RWE to split Czech market

Czech state-owned utility, CEZ has called upon Germany’s E.ON and RWE to swap stakes in distributors in a bid to get around regulatory competition controls.

CEZ was hoping to acquire former Slovak monopoly Slovenske Elektrarne, after an order to divest a large part of recently bought Czech power distribution firms. This led them to suggest a swap deal, whereby E.ON would receive stakes in distributors Jihoceska Energetika and Jihomoravska Energetika, and hand over shares in Zapadoceska Energetika and Vychodoceska Energetika.

RWE would receive a minority stake in Prazska Energetika in exchange for its minority stake in Stredoceska Energeticka.

Hungary to undertake refurbishment project

Hungary’s AES-Tisza, a subsidiary of AES Corp., has launched a G98m refurbishment plan for its 860 MW thermal plant in Tiszaujvaros, northeast of the country.

The project will be split into four phases and is scheduled for completion by December 2004. The work is expected to stretch the lifespan of the plant to 2016. AES-Tisza signed a financing agreement with Credit Lyonnais Bank last year.

In the first phase of the project, the company will reduce the plant’s nitrogen oxide emissions and will introduce a new system for the treatment of water used to clean parts of the facility. Phase 2 will begin in September.

Bahrain orders 650 MW plant for aluminium smelter

Bahraini smelter house, Aluminium Bahrain (ALBA), has awarded Alstom a G320m contract to supply a 650 MW power plant to increase the amount of production capacity.

The power plant will allow the smelter to increase the current annual 500 000 t capacity to 750 000 t annually, making it one of the largest aluminium producers in the world.

The order is for the addition of two combined cycle power plant blocks to the existing GT13E2 gas turbine unit. Construction begins immediately with the second combined cycle block due to start in summer 2005.