“Seeing is Believing”- Siemens Megaproject in Egypt

11:52 | 15/06/2017 Industry

In June 2015, Siemens was awarded its largest single order for the expansion of the Egyptian power supply. Only 18 months after the signing of the contract, Siemens has set a new worldwide benchmark for the execution of fast-track power projects. Thanks to an outstanding collaboration between the Government, the Ministry of Electricity, the Egyptian Electricity Holding Company and a dedicated and competent Siemens team, the first phase of Egypt Megaproject was successfully completed and inaugurated in March 2017 by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Egyptian President Abdel Fatta El-Sisi thus connecting 4.8 GW to the national grid in a world-breaking period of 18 months.

The “Wow” factors of this megaproject

Together with its local partners, Orascom Construction and Elsewedy Electric, Siemens is building three gas-fired combined cycle power plants with a total generation capacity of 14.4 GW (adding up 45% of the existing generation capacity in 3 years only), based on the most advanced and efficient technology in the power generation field. These combined cycle power plants are using the H-Class turbines which have efficiency of more than 60% thus enabling Egypt to achieve USD1.3 billion in fuel savings on annual basis. They are also very environmentally friendly.

Being designed and executed according to steady steps with remarkable progress over the three sites, in 18 months only Siemens has provided installed capacity 15% of the current existing generation capacity and successfully reinforced the Egyptian National Grid with 4,800 MW. Upon final completion, each of the three power plants will have a generation capacity of 4.8 GW which is sufficient for providing 15 million people with electricity.

Currently, project teams at the three sites, Beni Suef, Burullus and New Capital, are working hard to maintain the success achieved and reaching next milestones according to the agreed time schedule with the customer. The total number of workers in the three sites is currently around 20,000 workers and planned to reach 24,000 workers in the peak time. Most importantly, these megaprojects have created jobs and rippled effect on several different economic sectors (including 773 local suppliers and subcontractors).

The thing that matters most is that the technology applied at these megaprojects in Egypt is completely applicable in Vietnam, more specifically the H-Class turbine technology with the combined cycle configuration. “You can generate electricity with up to 60% efficiency which is entirely capable of meeting the electricity demand in Vietnam” – Mr. Emad Ghaly – CEO of Siemens Egypt said.

The emergence of Siemens in Egypt began in 1859 when the Siemens brothers laid a sea cable through the Red Sea in order to connect European countries to western India. This project marked the determination to attain perfection in technology with a pioneer spirit. This long-term and sustainable commitment is still here today. Siemens has been enthusiastically assisting the sustainable economic development of Egypt via the implementation of technology in electrification, automation and digitalization, as well as active in technology and technique know-how transfer.

Overcoming challenges, Overdelivering on promise

In order to acquire this outstanding progress, Siemens has had to overcome many challenges in the construction of these power plants and in the installation of large equipment.

In December 2016, six H-Class gas turbines at Beni Suef power plant were synchronized successfully with a total capacity of 2,400MW. The plant is positioned in Beni Suef to serve the residential demand in Upper/South Egypt regions, providing electricity to remote and rural villages in these areas as well as supply the energy intensive industries like cement & Metal industries with reliable electricity. Together with Elsewedy Electric, Siemens managed to overcome several challenges at this site, including the excavation and the removal of around 1,750,000 m3 of rocks, which is equivalent to the volume of the smaller Giza Pyramid.

New Capital power plant will provide electricity to two vital national projects which are, Egypt’s New Administrative Capital and the Suez Canal developments. Siemens has developed customized solutions (never implemented before in Egypt) to meet the challenging conditions at the sites applying the Air Cooled Condensers technology for the first time in Egypt in New Capital to compensate the non- availability of water sources.

The power plant at Burullus is situated to supply the energy-intensive industries in Kafr El Sheikh and Alexandria with electricity. This includes gas and oil production industries among others. Burullus site is considered one of the most complex construction sites worldwide due to its geographic nature combined with the tremendous magnitude of works done in parallel. Currently the construction at Burullus has reached around 37,500.5Mio. Man-hours with more than 8000 people working on site. The plant is considered as a benchmark for modern turnkey power plant construction. Despite the saline soil, Siemens managed to execute the project in 18 months only. Typically, a project with similar technical challenges would take up to 1.5 years for soil preparation –without any erection of technical equipment. The plant has now four gas turbines connected to the grid with a total generating capacity of 1,600 MW.

Commitment to technology transfer

Complementary to the megaproject, Siemens supports the development of future highly skilled Egyptian workforce, and has announced the details of a strategic alliance agreement between Germany’s Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the company to support occupational training in Egypt. As part of the agreement, Siemens will cooperate with Deutsche Geshellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenabert GmnH (GIZ) on behalf of BMZ, for the establishement and the operation of a joint training center as well as the strengthening of one selected Egyptian public vocational training institute. This program was designed in line with Egypt’s objectives outlined in “Egypt Vision 2030” to promote long-term economic growth, create new jobs and increase the competitiveness of Egyptian industries.

“In addition to building a modern and efficient power infrastructure for the Egyptian people, Siemens is also supporting the training of a local workforce of more than 5,500 talented individuals in the next four years,” said Joe Kaeser, President and CEO of Siemens AG. “This strategic partnership with Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development signifies a new milestone in Siemens’ history in Egypt, and underscores our joint commitment to support the country’s long-term growth and development.”

It’s also planned that only a limited number of foreign experts work on site once this megaproject has completed fully and operated smoothly. Most of the daily operational tasks will be then carried by the local people.

“In order to recruit 600 eligible candidates to work at the Ministry of Egyptian Energy, we had to screen through more than 25,000 CVs. Amazingly there are a number of Vietnamese engineers participating in this megaproject. And I can assure that they are absolutely capable of meeting our strict demand and are contributing to the success of this megaproject”, said Mr. Thierry Toupin, General Manager of Siemens’ Megaproject in Egypt said.