Overseas firms share UAE power plant contract

A consortium of International Power, Mitsui and Tokyo Power Generation has been chosen by the Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority (Adwea) as preferred bidders for a contract worth $2.2bn to build a power generation and desalination plant in Abu Dhabi.

The companies will now proceed to negotiate the contract for the Umm al-Nar project, which is expected to be signed by mid-March with the funding process finalized in June.

A special company will be launched to manage the project for a 20-year term and act as EPC contractors. The alliance of three companies awarded the contract will hold a 40 per cent stake in the project.

Transelectrica upgrades EMS

Two key contracts have been awarded to Alstom’s Trans-mission and Distribution division to deliver a full energy management system (EMS) to Romania’s transmission system operator, Transelectrica, and a market management system to power market operator Opcom.

The contracts, worth g9m ($9.8m), follow a recent g21m order awarded to Alstom by Transelectrica to supply a fibre optic telecoms network for its transmission grid.

Alstom is to deliver and commission a full EMS to cover Transelectrica’s national dispatch centre and back-up facility along with five territorial dispatch centres. Its e-terraPlatform energy management software solution will be installed.

Under the second contract, Alstom will supply Opcom with a complete IT system to handle day-ahead and intra-day energy and ancillary services markets.

Jenbacher engines to warm Ural city

Austrian gas engine manufacturer Jenbacher has landed its biggest ever Russian order. Energy company Bashkir-energo, which serves the city of Sibai at the foot of the Ural mountains in the Republic of Bashkortostan, has ordered ten combined heat and power modules equipped with Jenbacher’s 620 series engines.

The new plant, with a total output of 55.4 MW, will supply district heating to the town, which experiences extreme cold in winter. It is scheduled to be in operation by the next heating season.

Jenbacher has published results for the ten months to October 2002 showing sales below budget. It blames the drop on market insecurity in the wake of the Enron crisis.

Duma passes Russian laws

Russia’s electricity market reforms have edged closer to reality with the approval by the State Duma of the second draft of the electricity laws. Opposition to the six-bill reform package had led to an eight-month delay in getting political approval.

Russian Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Trade, Andrei Sharonov, said that a mini-electricity wholesale market, which would comprise 5-15 per cent of all electricity generated in Russia, may be launched in April. A larger deregulated wholesale market is planned for 2005 onwards.

The reforms will also lead to the break-up of state utility Unified Energy Systems (UES) with the separation of transmission grid, power generation and dispatch divisions.

Oman invites private sector

Oman plans to invite private companies to bid for contracts to operate three of its largest operational power plants.

An official at the electricity ministry said: “The plants will be managed by private companies which will relieve the ministry of responsibility for running power stations.” An official regulator will be set up to monitor the activities of the privatized power companies.

Although private companies have built and operated power stations in Oman since 1996, this is the first time Oman has opened an existing plant to private investors.

The three power plants have a combined installed capacity of 1560 MW. Both the al-Rusail plant, with capacity of 685 MW, and the 540 MW al-Ghubrah plant serve the capital of Muscat. The smaller al-Jizzi plant in northern Oman has a capacity of 335 MW.

UAE’s Dolphin Energy signs crucial gas agreement

A key gas purchase and sales agreement has been signed by Dolphin Energy Ltd., the $3.5bn gas pipeline developer jointly owned by the UAE government, TotalFinaElf and Occidental Petroleum. The agreement to purchase Omani natural gas from the fourth quarter of 2003 will form the bedrock of the company’s revenue base, said a Dolphin Energy statement.

The Omani gas will supply the Union Water and Electricity Company, a power and desalination plant in Fujairah. From 2006, Dolphin’s own Qatari gas supplies will flow via a subsea pipeline, replacing the Omani gas.

News digest

Bulgaria: A consortium consisting of Alstom and Voith Hydro Power Generation has been awarded a g15m ($16.4m) contract for rehabilitation of the Orfeus and Krichim hydro plants by Natsionalna Elektricheska Kompania EAD. Both plants were originally built over 30 years ago and each consists of 2 x 40 MW units.

Bulgaria: Russia and Bulgaria are to jointly study ways to increase Russian gas and electricity exports to Bulgaria and southeastern Europe. A committee will report back to both governments by July.

Croatia: Power company HEP is to invest g307m ($335m) in 2003, a significant part of which will finance four transmission network projects needed to boost grid security and stability. Investments are also planned for the distribution network and for the construction and refurbishment of generation facilities.

Egypt: Danish wind turbine manufacturer Vestas Wind Systems has won its first order in Egypt to supply 200 turbines for the Zafarana wind farm near the Red Sea. The order is estimated to be worth g65.6m ($72m).

Iran: Iran’s Energy Minister predicts an additional 30 000 MW being added to the country’s power grid in the next ten years, with 40 per cent being developed by foreign investors.

Kosovo: An Alstom-led consortium has won a g38m ($42m) contract to refurbish both units of the fire-damaged Kosovo B power plant. Alstom will supply, install and commission the P320 digital control system in each unit.

Lithuania: Germany’s E.ON Energie plans to increase its stakes in Lithuanian electricity utilities RST and VST in which the government plans to sell shares later this year. The govermnent has an ongoing dialogue with E.ON, which already owns 10.9 per cent of both entities.

Middle East: Articles of association have been agreed and a board chosen for the authority overseeing the development of the unified GCC electricity grid. The project has an estimated cost of $1.1bn and the first phase of development could take up to five years.

Poland: Belgian utility Electrabel is to take a further 60 per cent stake in the Polaniec power plant in southern Poland, giving it full control over the 1800 MW facility. Electrabel is also bidding for the G-8 power distribution group.

Turkey: In an effort to bring down electricity prices, Turkey’s new government has warned that private power plant operators will have to lower prices or risk the cancellation of lucrative contracts. It has cancelled 30 proposed BOT projects with a total capacity of 2846 MW.