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SES to supply gasifiers to Brazil’s Vamtec Vitoria in deal worth more than USD 100m

Synthesis Energy Systems, Inc. (SES) is slated to supply coal gasification technology to a USD 400m Vamtec Vitoria SA biodiesel production plant, according to Vamtec Vitoria Feasibility and Project Director Jean Levitre.

The deal is likely to be valued at more than USD 100m. SES CEO DeLome Fair yesterday that the company remains in “strong consideration” for a project in South America that could net it over USD 100m in revenue, likely in reference to the Vamtec Vitoria project. Pressed by analysts for more information about the deal, she declined to provide further comment.

Vamtec Vitoria recently received a nod from the municipal legislature in Candiota, Brazil to build a local USD 400m methanol gasification-based biodiesel production plant, according to local media reports. The facility will provide 750 tonnes/day of methanol to the local market and utilize SES technology to gasify low rank coal.

Vamtec Vitoria has signed a letter of intent to purchase a 70MW turbine from Mitsubishi Groupsubsidiary Mitsubishi Heavy Industries for the facility. The company is also planning to build a 4000 t/d coal gasification train, 1300 t/d oxygen plant, 1300 t/d argon plant and 200 t/d argon plant. It is preparing an environmental impact assessment now that should be completed within two to three months. Vamtec will meet with its undisclosed investment partner in December to review the capex and opex of the project and, if green lighted,seek an EPC contractor by 2H17.

Vamtec is looking for financing to support the construction of the project, according to local media. The company is attempting to raise 70% of the value of the facility via the Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Economico e Social (BNDES) and the remaining 30% via equity investors. Levitre said it is in talks with various investors now and declined to provide more information.

The Vamtec Vitoria plant will help reduce Brazil’s reliance on imported methanol, a key component of biodiesel. Each liter of biodiesel contains about 12% methanol and Brazil currently imports about 1.5m tonnes of the chemical compound annually. Brazil has ramped up its biodiesel production in recent years, a development that has contributed to a 675m-tonne reaction of greenhouse gas emissions.

Based in Houston, Texas, SES sells technology that can convert low grade coal, biomass and municipal solid waste into energy products for applications in the power generation, industrial fuels, chemicals, fertilizers and transportation fuels industries. The company reported revenues of USD 500,000 for the three months ended 30 June, down from USD 4.6m on the year. As of that same day it had USD 13.8m in cash and cash equivalents and USD 2.4m in working capital.

SES has built extensive ties to industry and government in China over the last several years. It is angling to use its base of operations in the country to faciliate a global expansion in the company years. For example, the company’s Chinese joint venture with Suzhou Thvow Technology Co Ltd, known as Suzhou Tianwo SES, is likely to be involved in supplying equipment to SES’ projects in South America, CEO DeLome Fair said earlier this year. Simon India Ltd, another SES partner based in India, is also likely to be involved, Fair said at the time.

SES declined to comment on this story.

 

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Opportunity of the Week: CSSC awards machine tool contract to European companies

CSSC Marine Power Co, a subsidiary of China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC), has recently purchased a variety of production equipment via international tenders, said the tender agent. CSSC chose Fives Landis Ltd’s crankshaft grinder, IMT Intermato SpA’s CNC turn-mill center, Hexagon AB’s gantry coordinate measuring machines, and horizontal machining center from Juaristi TS Comercial SL, said Huang Pianpian from Beijing Rui Chi Fei Si Tender Co, the appointed agent representing CSSC in this case.

Those orders will be delivered within an eight to 18 months period at various Chinese ports such as Nanjing and Anqing.

CSSC is strengthening its position in China’s engine market even with the current low market demand. In July, it acquired a 30% stake in two-stroke JV Winterthur Gas & Diesel (WinGD) from its partner Wartsila Corporation; following the transaction, CSSC owns 100% of WinGD. Market research shows that in China’s medium-speed diesel engine market, Weichai Heavy Machinery and CSSC Marine Power take up a 58.9% market share. In October 2015, CSSC Marine Power renewed the contract with MAN Diesel & Turbo for another 10 years of production of four-stroke medium speed engines. In May 2016, the company’s 6S60ME low-speed diesel engine started operation. The latest designed model is the largest diesel engine constructed by CSSC Marine Power, which weighs approximately 390 tons.

 

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IIICorp opportunity of the week: GMH seeks funding for proposed USD 800m Tamil Nadu-based TPP

General Mediterranean Holding (GMH) is looking for financiers for its proposed 1030MW merchant thermal power plant at Kattuppalli Village in Thirvallur district in Tamil Nadu (TN), according to Justin Paul, the President Technical at Chennai Power Generation Limited (CPGL), the Indian subsidiary of the Luxembourg-based company.

“The project is awaiting environment clearance, land acquisition, and fuel-supply agreement for the power plant and we will look at financial closure of the plant in the first quarter of 2018,” Paul told this news service.

The company president did not provide a timeline when the EPC tenders would be invited but said that the bids would be invited soon after the environment clearances and fuel supply agreements are in place.

The 1030MW power project had experienced difficulties when North Chennai Power Company Limited refused to spare 70 acres of land to CPGL for the plant due to a reported overlap in location of the two companies’ power plants. The terms of reference (ToR) for the project were initially issued in 2009, however these expired in 2013 due to the inability to resolve the land issue. A fresh application to issue the ToR was submitted in September 2015, which was approved in early June this year.

The total project investment (TPI) comprises USD 788.5m (Rs. 5245.6 crore) and the facility will source coal from Indonesia and Australia. It will consist of two 515MW steam turbine generator (STG) sets and two pulverized coal-fired subcritical boilers. The balance of plant (BoP) package will comprise the coal and ash handling plant, water treatment plant, desalination plant, compressed air system, electrical controls, instrumentation and control, and chimney, all of which cost USD 639.3m.

The total plant area will cover about 319 acres of land, including an ash pond area, along with 23 acres within Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) area that will be utilized as corridor for sea water pipeline and for coal conveying at a total cost of USD 27.5m.

There will also be a requirement for the installation of electrostatic precipitators (ESPs) and flue gahis weeks desulfurization (FGD) systems however these will be decided based on the fuel supply agreement signed.

“If required, we will invite separate bids for the construction of the FGD plant,” said Paul.

 

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Featured Story of the Week: SGCC bid for Abengoa’s Brazilian assets faces delays arising from deal’s complex, politically-sensitive nature

State Grid Corporation of China’s (SGCC) planned purchase of Abengoa SA’s Brazilian power transmission operations is facing ongoing delays as a result of the high level of complexity it has encountered in the asset evaluation process. That’s according to Xiao Bin (肖斌), an official at theState Grid Brazil Holding SA (国家电网巴西控股公司), the local subsidiary of SGCC, who made reference to the highly diverse nature of the assets in question and their complicated financial position.

“The acquisition is still in talks and there is n0_1_21st_Century_Silk_Road_Map_thumb_1460933781855o certain time for how long it will take,” Xiao said. He added that a formal proposal has yet to be made.

SGCC’s confusion is shared by industry analysts who have also had difficulty estimating the value of Abengoa’s Brazilian assets, which comprises facilities that are operational and reneue-generating as well as ones that are being developed. In the latter category, Abengoa has about 6,000km of transmission lines under construction that will require the purchaser to take on billions of dollars of future investments.

The Brazilian government has indicated that it would expect a large and well-capitalized entity like SGCC to acquire all of Abengoa’s Brazilian assets as a package.

This news service previously reported, citing a SGCC source, that this transaction was a politically sensitive one and that it should not be viewed as a simple sale and purchase agreement between two companies. The state-owned Chinese company, which has invested USD 2.58bn (CNY 16.83bn) in Brazil’s power transmission sector since 2010, believes that the expertise it has developed via the construction of China’s vast ultra-high-voltage projects over the past two years gave it a competitive advantage over rival bidders.

Financially-distressed Abengoa, which filed for bankruptcy protection in November 2015, is Brazil’s largest non-state owned power transmission operator. Its Brazilian operations have total net debts of USD 825m (CNY 5.4bn), of which more than USD 218m (CNY ) are owed to local equipment suppliers in the country, according to the electricity industry association Abinee.

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