General Electric (GE), the global conglomerate which has emerged as a major solutions partner for the region, is looking to expand its operations in Qatar.
“Qatar is strategically important for GE and our relationship with the country is very special. GE has big investments in Qatar’s power and health sectors; and strong partnership in the aviation sector. We are looking to further expand our partnership in these sectors”, Paul A.McElhinney, President and CEO of GE Power Services, told The Peninsula in a media roundtable held in Baden.
GE has huge interests in Qatar. Qatar Airways is one of GE’s largest global customers. GE technology is widely used in RasGas, Qatargas, Messaieed Power, Ras Abu Fontas project and Qatalum. The partnership in the oil and gas business is very strong. GE has invested heavily in its research and training centre in Qatar, one of the largest of its kind in the region, he said.
Currently GE is working with key entities in Qatar to take advantage of GE Power’s path-breaking solutions to improve the efficiency, flexibility and savings for the power sector in Qatar. Demand for power will continue to grow significantly in the region as it has to meet the requirements of growing population and infrastructure development.
Citing World Energy Council data, Paul said the GCC will require an estimated 10 gigawatts (GW) of additional power over the next ten years, marking an investment of over $50bn in new power generating capacity. Across the region, demand for power is increasing at an average annual rate of 8 percent.
GE Power is engaged in a discussion with Qatar on how to enhance the efficiency at the grid level. Despite an LNG-rich country, Qatar is targeting a 5 percent reduction in gas consumption in the power generation sector. This is a project that GE Power is looking to partner with Qatar.
GE Power believes power producers need more efficient, flexible and reliable technologies not only to boost generation capacity but also to focus on the sustainable use of resources. Across the region, the current trend is to improve the efficiency of the existing projects, rather than launching new projects.
“Before the oil slump, 90 percent of the talks in the power production sector were about new projects and 10 percent talks were on enhancing the efficiency of the existing plants. But now, most of our clients are talking about enhancing the efficiency of the existing plants. Our newly developed 9EMax variant offers unprecedented levels of efficiency and productivity”, Paul said.
The 9EMax is of special significance to GE’s 9E customers in the Middle East and Africa, where extreme heat conditions can create operational challenges. Over 300 of GE’s 9E turbines are in operation in the region, delivering more than 37GW of power. Irrespective of their age, the 9EMax upgrades ensure that the gas turbines remain efficient, flexible and reliable, he said.
By Satish Kanady
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