Magazine article Economic Review

Uch Power Project

Magazine article Economic Review

Uch Power Project

Article excerpt

The ground-breaking ceremony of this project was performed by Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto on April 26th, 1995 costing US$ 600 million, the Uch Power Project will be 586 MW, combined-cycle power plant near Dera Murad Jamali, 48 kilometers north of Jacobabad in Balochistan Province of Pakistan. The location provides convenient access to fuel, water and interconnection to the nation's electric power transmission grid. The plant is scheduled to begin operation in 1997.

The project has a pedigree which begins with the discovery of the Uch Gas Field, some 40km to the east of Dera Murad Jamali, in 1955. In those days the world wanted oil and no-one wanted gas. So, it remained in the ground undeveloped until 1985, when the Government of Pakistan earmarked Uch Gas for private power generation. By then gas turbine technology had developed to the point where Uch Gas could be used to power them. However, it is still not possible, economically, to use it for any other purpose. Hence this plant will make good use of a resources indigenous to Pakistan, avoiding the importation of an estimated $2 billion worth of foreign fuel over the life of the project, the use of foreign exchange and reliance on foreign suppliers. This plant will greatly enhance Pakistan's drive to energy independence.

The financing of the project is being coordinated by Dutch and German banks, ABN Amro and Deutsche Bank, NDFC, World Bank, IFC and Bank of China.

The Uch Power project will utilize medium-heating-value natural gas to be supplied by Pakistan's Oil and Gas Development Corporation (OGDC) from its nearby Uch gas field located 60 kilometers east of Dera Murad Jamali. Power will be provided to Pakistan's Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA).

Key contractual agreements for the project are based on Pakistan's new private power policy, which is designed to encourage private power development.

The Uch Power project will be constructed, owned and operated by Uch Power Limited, a Pakistani company formed to construct and operate the power generating facility and the associated residential community for plant operating personnel.

The heart of the combined-cycle power plant will use state-of-the-art gas and steam turbine generator technology, providing excellent efficiency and reliability with minimal environmental emissions. The power plant will be constructed on a turnkey basis by a consortium led by General Electric Power Systems.

In a combined-cycle power plant, gas turbines and steam turbines work together for maximum efficiency in the generation of electric power. Natural gas is burned in the gas turbine, which drives a generator to produce electricity. The hot exhaust gases from the gas turbine are directed to a heat-recovery steam generator (HRSG) to produce steam which powers a steam turbine to generate additional power. This arrangement extracts the maximum possible energy from the fuel, providing the most efficient form of fossil fuel-fired power generation.

About two-thirds of the power produced by the Uch Power Project will be generated by three gas turbines. More than 5,700 GE-technology gas turbines are operating or on order around the world; more than all other suppliers combined.

Additional power will be generated by a condensing steam turbine, optimized for combined-cycle operation. GE-designed steam turbines provide more than one-fifth of the world's steam-powered generation capacity.

The project sponsors include three US companies, Tenaska International (the project manager), GE Capital Uch Power Holdings, L.P., Hawkins Oil and Gas Inc. and Great Britain is represented by Midland Electricity. Pakistani sponsors is HAL. Following are the brief writeups of companies involved in the project.

MEB Midlands Electricity plc

International Energy Investor and Developer: Central Power (Holdings) Limited is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Midlands Electricity plc, one of Great Britain's leading regional electricity and natural gas companies, serving over 2. …

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