SEC-C converts to gas

The Saudi Electric Company— Central Region (SEC-C) is to convert its Riyadh 8 power plant to operate on natural gas in order to comply with a Saudi government order. Twenty gas turbines, currently operating on crude oil, will be converted by Alstom under a a20m ($17m) contract.

The order forms part of the SEC-C’s move to comply with Saudi government instructions which stipulate that power producers should use natural gas from the Arabian American Company (Aramco).

The Riyadh 8 plant consists of 20 Alstom GT11D gas turbine units which were originally installed in the early 1980s. Alstom will supply a complete combustor burner system together with a corresponding fuel distribution system and a new closed loop unit control system.

Work on the plant was scheduled to begin almost immediately in October 2000, and is due to be complete by spring 2001. The units currently operate at baseload, and will be converted to use natural gas as the primary fuel, with crude oil as back up.

Together, the 20 units have accumulated over 2 000 000 equivalent operating hours.

Senegal privatization plans collapse

Senegal’s plans to privatize and modernize its electricity sector have ground to a halt following disagreements between the energy ministry and a consortium consisting of Suez Lyonnaise des Eaux (SLDE) and Hydro-Quebec. The plans would have brought investment to the sector and an end to recurrent power shortages.

Energy minister Abdoulaye Bathily said that the government and the consortium parted on amicable terms. The government will now look for another partner to invest in Senelec, the national utility.

The government opened 34 per cent of Senelec to the consortium in 1999. The companies said that they deployed all possible means to resolve Senelec’s problems.

A joint statement from the parties stated that “serious current difficulties facing Senelec” and their impact on Senegal’s economy and social life. It also highlights “the difficulty of introducing satisfactory solutions to end this situation”.

Lietuvos Energija attracts 14 possibles

Lithuania’s plans to privatize Lietuvos Energija has had a strong response, with 14 companies expressing an interest in the sale. The government announced in September that it would restructure and sell off parts of the national utility, but no timetable has been set.

Companies reported to have submitted prospectuses include RWE, Tractebel, EDF, AES, Electrabel, Cinergy, Vattenfall, NRG Energy and British Energy. Each will submit bids and the winner will be selected by the government based on recommendations from an appointed advisor.

Lietuvos Energija will be split into generation, transmission and distribution companies. The government will retain the transmission function.

AzerEnerji to extend Baku

Azerbaijan’s JSC AzerEnerji is planning to add a cogeneration unit to its Baku power plant, bringing the plant’s total output to 110 MWe. The company has placed an order with Alstom for the supply of equipment to the project on a turnkey basis.

The plant extension will involve the addition of a 55 MW GT8C2 gas turbine cogeneration unit to the Baku facility. Alstom will supply all plant systems and balance of plant equipment while local Azerbaijani companies will be responsible for civil works and erection.

The extended plant will have a capacity of 110 MWe. It will generate 800 GWh/a, resulting in a fuel saving for the local utility of 200 000 t/a of residual oil. The plant will provide up to 400 t/h of process steam to the Azneftyag (Socar) refinery, a textile factory and other industrial and residential consumers in Baku.

Commissioning of the extension is scheduled for November 2001.

$1 billion debt package for the Al Taweelah plant

The National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) has agreed to be the co-arranger for the $1bn debt package for the Al Taweelah A-1 power and desalination plant extension project. Banque Paribas and Citibank have won the mandate to finance the $1.4bn project.

The Taweelah A-1 expansion contract was recently awarded to a consortium of TotalFina Elf and Tractebel, which together hold a 40 per cent stake in the project development company. The remaining 60 per cent is held by the Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority.

Speaking of the debt package, NBAD said: “A sizeable portion of the facility will likely be sold into the European and US markets— where the capacity to handle long-term exposure is better developed— to general syndication in first quarter 2001.”