Saudi switch to efficient power plants to save 550,000 b/d crude - SEC head

Updated 03 May 2014
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Saudi switch to efficient power plants to save 550,000 b/d crude - SEC head

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia will save 200 million barrels a year of liquid fuel by switching its power stations to more efficient combined cycle turbines, the head of Saudi Electricity Co (SEC) 5110.SE said in a speech reported by state media.
The report of Ziyad Alshiha's speech did not give details on when the move towards more efficient turbines would be completed, or whether that fuel saving was compared with now or 2009, when SEC started converting its power stations.
"Continuous collaboration ... has supported SEC efforts to transform most of its existing simple cycle units to combined cycle technology and also to use super critical boilers in steam power plants," he said in the report carried by Saudi Press Agency.
"SEC expects that these current and future plans, once completed, will save approximately 200 million barrels of fuel annually," he added.
The figure of 200 million barrels a year is equivalent to almost 550,000 barrels per day (bpd).
A spokesman for SEC said he could not give any further details on the figures.
Saudi Arabia annually burns a significant amount of its crude oil in electricity stations and its rising domestic power consumption has caused some analysts to warn this will eat into the amount available for export.
However, last year it reduced its summer fuel burn, when electricity demand is highest because of increased use of air conditioning, by 10 percent to 689,750 bpd, according to government data.
That figure, achieved through increased gas supplies, better efficiency and cooler weather, was down from a record high of 763,250 million bpd during summer 2012.
Saudi Arabia is by far the largest user of crude oil for power generation, with most other countries having abandoned oil-fired generation long ago in favour of gas, nuclear and renewable sources.
However, state-owned Saudi Arabian Oil Co (Saudi Aramco) has brought more gas fields on stream in recent years for use in power plants and the government has discussed introducing atomic and solar electricity.
Alshiha added that SEC planned to spend 622 billion riyals ($166 billion) between now and 2023, adding 40,000 megawatts of installed generating capacity and expanding transmission and distribution networks.
Saudi electricity use has risen by about 6 percent a year over the last decade, with summer peak demand more than doubling to over 48,000 megawatts in 2011 from 2002, according to the national electricity regulator.


Tunisia to almost double gas production this year

Updated 48 min 17 sec ago
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Tunisia to almost double gas production this year

  • The project will be jointly owned by Austria’s OMV and Tunisian National Oil Company ETAP
  • It will include investments of about $700 million

TUNIS: Tunisia will almost double production of natural gas to about 65,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day this year, the industry and energy minister, Slim Feriani, told Reuters on Friday.
The country’s gas output will jump from 35,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boed) when the southern Nawara gas field comes onstream in June, Feriani said.
“We will raise our production by about 30,000 barrels of oil equivalent when the Nawara project in the south will start,” Feriani told Reuters in interview.
This project will be jointly owned by Austria’s OMV and Tunisian National Oil Company ETAP with investments of about $700 million.
Feriani also said Tunisia was seeking to attract about $2 billion in foreign investment to produce 1,900 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy in three years. “We will start launching international bids for the production of renewable wind and sun energy. We aim to produce 1,900 MW by investment of up to $2 billion until 2022,” he said.
This would represent about 22 percent of the country’s electricity production.
PHOSPHATE
Tunisia also plans to raise production of phosphate from 3 million tons to 5 million in 2019, he said.
Raising the output will boost economic growth and provide revenue to revive its faltering economy, the minister said.
Phosphate exports are a key source of foreign currency reserves, which have dropped to levels worth just 82 days of imports, according to Tunisia’s central bank.
Tunisia produced about 8.2 million tons of phosphate in 2010 but output dropped after its 2011 revolution. Annual output has not exceeded 4.5 million tons since 2011.
Feriani said lower production has caused Tunisia to lose markets and about $1 billion each year.
Phosphate exports were hit by repeated protests in the main producing region of Gafsa, where unemployed youth demanding jobs blockaded rail transport.