6.1.2014

STEAG maintains Morupule B

A German company has taken over the maintenance and operation services of Morupule B Power Station from China National Electric Equipment Corporation (CNEEC). STEAG Energy Services is a German company that specilises in power plant construction and maintenance.
The Minister of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources, Mr Kitso Mokaila said the takeover effected January 1. The interim operations and maintenance agreement under which CNEEC had been providing services came to an end on 31 December. Mr Mokaila said negotiations between Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) and CNEEC reached a deadlock. CNEEC was involved in the construction, maintenance and operation of Morupule B Power Station. Mr Mokaila said it had been difficult to establish why the Chinese company was experiencing repeated failures, and whether the company followed set specifications and procedures in constructing the plant.
He said BPC at one point had to engage STEAG to help identify the problems. He said the engagement of STEAG would give the government and BPC the opportunity to have an oversight of what was happening. He said his ministry and BPC want to see the plant operating at full capacity, adding that the project was expected to be completed by October 2012 with four units churning 150MW of electricity each. He said to date only two units were in operation. He said the coal fired power station was crucial for the economy of the country and that it was important to ensure that everything was delivered as agreed.
BPC's chief executive officer, Mr Jacob Raleru said CNEEC would continue with the construction programme. He noted that BPC could not have opened tenders for the maintenance and operation services of Morupule B because it was an emergency. "This is an emergency phase and we are hoping to go into a long term contract," he said.
He said STEAG was the right company to engage because they designed the equipment and were familiar with the project. He said the company was also involved in establishing why the plant incurred repeated failures. STEAG's operations and maintenance deputy head, Mr Ralf Nagel said the plant was of a good quality but needed some modifications. He said his company would introduce computerised maintenance and management systems that would help make future maintenance plans.
Mr Nagel said his company plans to promote skills transfer, adding that his company would develop training programmes for local engineers that were tailor-made for the project. He said Botswana has capable engineers who need to be trained on power technology. (Government of Botswana)

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