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Minister Mokaila briefs Parliament on Morupule B
04/03/16
Government’s main focus is to bring the 600MW Morupule B Power Plant into service in a short time possible, Minister of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources has said. Briefing Parliament on progress made on Morupule B Power Plant, Mr Kitso Mokaila indicated that telling effects brought about by the inordinate delay in bringing the power plant into service have been severe and characterised by prolonged and widespread load shedding. Mr Mokaila also noted that problems have been identified and remedial action was being taken, including strengthening of the Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) project management staff.

Government’s main focus is to bring the 600MW Morupule B Power Plant into service in a short time possible, Minister of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources has said.

Briefing Parliament on progress made on Morupule B Power Plant, Mr Kitso Mokaila indicated that telling effects brought about by the inordinate delay in bringing the power plant into service have been severe and characterised by prolonged and widespread load shedding.

Mr Mokaila also noted that problems have been identified and remedial action was being taken, including strengthening of the Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) project management staff.

The minister also told Parliament that he and the BPC chief executive officer were in continual communication with their South African counterparts on the challenges the country’s electricity supply industry was facing.

Also, he said he was in continual communication with chief executives of China National Electric Equipment Corporation (CNEEC); the contractor and Fichtner; the owners engineer.

He indicated that he met with the two on December 6 last year where he expressed his concern on failure to deliver the plant in time. “My focus is to bring our power station into service as soon as possible.

It is not my intention to expend a lot of energy trying to find who is to blame for the inordinate delay in bringing the full power plant into service which is now targeted for July 2013”, he said.

On the state of the power plant, the minister told the House that unit one was shut down on January 15 this year to attend to some teething problems which included steam leaks, air leaks, operation problems in the limestone and some ash system leakages, which he indicated have been attended to.

“Barring the unforeseen, the contractor has indicated that unit one would be ready by mid-March”, he said. On unit two, he said it was shut down on January 16 on account of a water leak inside the boiler sub-systems.

The work, he said was currently on-going and expected to be completed by mid-March.

The minister also reported that unit three was currently generating power and connected to the BPC transmission system and completed prescribed tests on February 26.

“While after the tests the three units will be available for operation, the contractor has no obligation under the existing contract to operate the units. Discussions are on-going to have the units in operation while conditions for taking over are being fulfilled”, he said.

Parliament also heard that unit four was still under construction or erection while some commissioning activities were also on-going.

Mr Mokaila explained that most of the remaining works entailed lagging/insulation and that due to safety concerns; all work at height has been suspended starting October 15 last year.

He added that the suspension order for work at height was being lifted for areas where proper or safe scaffolding has been erected. Works on unit four, he said were being executed adding that delays on account of safety considerations were being experienced.

Further, the minister said the contractor was forecasting synchronisation to happen in March, after which unit four would undergo prescribed tests before being declared ready for commercial use.

As a background, Minister Mokaila told Parliament that the BPC concluded an engineering procurement and construction contract to develop the 600MW Morupule B Power Station with a consortium of the CNEEC and Shenyang Blower Works Electro-Mechanics Import and Export Co. Ltd (SBW), collectively referred to as CNEEC-SBW consortium on November 15 in 2008.

Fitchner GmBH & Co. of Germany are BPC’s owners engineer and are responsible for the delivery of the project.

The minister also outlined contractually dates completion of the power station which he said have not been met for various reasons such as truckers strike action in South Africa which barred movement of equipment from Durban to site and inclement weather in 2010/11.

However, he said the delays were compounded by other problems, among them, blockages and a steam tube leak on boilers one and two respectively.

Again, Mr Mokaila indicated that the contractor’s non-compliance with safety, health and environmental (SHE) standards also contributed to the delays, adding after May last year to date a number of problems surfaced both technical and legal.

In other issues, the minister indicated that Norton Rose and Aurecon Ame Limited would be engaged for seven months at an estimated cost of P14.8 million to strengthen the BPC’s project management oversight.

Through the engagement of the two, the minister was hopeful that a firmer project oversight would result in the power plant being delivered in good time to address the current serious power supply and demand mismatch.

Further, the minister noted that bringing on board Aurecon AME Limited would go a long way to reducing government’s liquidated damages through their technical advice.

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