Wärtsilä, a leading global supplier of flexible and efficient power plant solutions and services, has signed an Operations & Maintenance (O&M) agreement with Sasol New Energy Holdings, a wholly owned subsidiary of Sasol, the integrated global energy and chemical company. The three year agreement covers the company’s gas engine power plant project in Sasolburg, South Africa.
By taking responsibility for operating and maintaining the power plant, Wärtsilä will implement its global best practices to ensure that it delivers the design output with maximum efficiency. Local employees of Sasol New Energy will also be trained as part of this agreement.
An Operations and Maintenance agreement is a comprehensive form of asset management. Typically, O&M agreements can be tailored to cover the entire scope of operational, management, and maintenance services, as well as providing the installation’s performance guarantees.
The Sasol New Energy plant is expected to start producing electricity towards the end of 2012. It will be the largest power plant running exclusively on gas engines to be installed on the African continent, and because of its low emissions, will be a major advance in developing Sasol’s electricity business. The plant has installed capacity of 180MW and it will provide the energy needed to power the company’s major new production facilities, such as the Sasol Wax Expansion and Ethylene Purification Unit 5 projects, that are currently under construction.
"The gas engine power plant employs a cleaner fossil fuel based technology than traditional coal based technology and will reduce the CO2 emissions by approximately one million tonnes per annum. In addition, it also generates electricity at a higher efficiency," says Kribs Govender, general manager, Low Carbon Electricity, Sasol New Energy.
"Our long experience and extensive know-how in the O&M field, in combination with the efficiency and reliability of the Wärtsilä equipment, will be of tremendous value in ensuring the success of this important project. The Sasolburg power plant is designed with high operating efficiency, low generating costs, and a minimal carbon footprint in mind and these are all areas where Wärtsilä excels," says A.P.Singh, general manager, Wärtsilä Solutions support services, South Europe & Africa.
Wärtsilä is an experienced operator, with a proven track record in operation and maintenance services. Globally, more than 16GW of generating capacity in both marine and land based installations – more than 500 installations – is covered by Wärtsilä’s Operations & Maintenance and other service agreements. 18 such agreements are in Africa. However, the Sasol agreement is Wärtsilä’s first O&M agreement in the Republic of South Africa. Speaking at the signing ceremony, Henri Loubser, managing director, Sasol New Energy, said that this is a milestone achievement in developing Sasol’s electricity business.
Sasol New Energy was created by the Sasol Group to leverage Sasol’s key competitive advantage, which is developing and commercialising new technologies, and implementing and operating facilities based on these technologies at large scale. Sasol is exploring renewable and lower-carbon energy as well as carbon capture and storage solutions.