Pole position in Mauritania

Published: December 9, 2013

Nouakchott wind farm-laying of the first stone by His Excellence Mohamed Ould Abdul Aziz, President of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania; left Mr Mohamed Salem Bechir, former Director general SOMELEC © SOMELEC

 

Exploitation of the Banda gas field would enable an “overnight” transformation of Mauritania’s entire power infrastructure. Tractebel Engineering is there, on every front, helping the country make its extraordinary leap from an energy-challenged to an energy-strong African State.

MAURITANIA’S GAS TO POWER STRATEGY

Finding untapped gas resources on its doorstep, Mauritania’s Ministry of Energy, Petroleum & Mining commissioned a major feasibility and power system assessment study outlining a full Gas to Power Strategy. Most subsequent projects and Tractebel Engineering’s “Pole Position” as International Engineering Services Provider in its sector in Mauritania stem from that initial study! Read more

ROLLING OUT THE PLAN

The strategic study has a long-term horizon of 2020; but it also defined key Phase 1 projects to be completed by 2015 – 2016 as the first steps needed to implement Mauritania’s Gas to Power Strategy as well its developing Renewable Energy ambitions. Read about these key projects:

THE VALUE OF PARTNERSHIP

Success in Mauritania relies on concerted effort; from the relationships developed, to the integrated teamwork, methodology, approach and quality of work carried out by Tractebel Engineering; which has gained the trust and support of project funders and investors and its clients. Read more


“For Mauritania, these are crucial projects needed to put in place, in a coherent way, the full value chain of the gas exploitation. In the context of proceeding without delays, access to high level competences in all key fields, under one roof, has greatly helped in meeting goals and raising our clients’ knowledge-base, confidence and satisfaction levels.” Mahendra Vermaut – Product Manager, Power Plant Development

MAURITANIA’S GAS TO POWER STRATEGY

Finding untapped gas resources on its doorstep, Mauritania’s Ministry of Energy, Petroleum & Mining commissioned a major feasibility and power system assessment study outlining a full Gas to Power Strategy. Most subsequent projects and Tractebel Engineering’s “Pole Position” as International Engineering Services Provider in its sector in Mauritania stem from that initial study!

A GOOD STARTING POINT
In November 2011, Tractebel Engineering, together with INTEC (International Energy Consultants GmbH), was awarded the Gas to Power feasibility studies by SPEG (Société de Production de l’Electricité à partir du Gaz). SPEG is a State-created consortium of utility company SOMELEC and 4 major mining operators (SNIM, MCM, TML and SPHÈRE MAURITANIE) – given that secure supply of reasonably priced electricity is a main condition for new mining projects to be able to materialise.

A CLEAR GOAL
Involving high-level economic, energy and power system assessment studies, the goal was to determine an overall concept of the energy infrastructure needed for Mauritania to fully benefit from its new gas resources. Drawing on Tractebel Engineering’s broad Power & Gas expertise, including Power System Consulting and Environment Impact Assessment, the study was carried out in 2012.

QUICK ACTION
TULLOW Oil, UK investor in the exploitation of the gas field is developing the project of extraction, transmission and delivery of gas to an onshore gas station outside Nouakchott. Understanding that the viability of successful gas exploitation/utilisation depends on the simultaneous realisation of downstream projects (PP and corresponding HV transmission infrastructure), SPEG must move forward rapidly on key energy projects in parallel with the gas development. In addition to gas-fired PP, Mauritania is also keen on developing Renewable Energy (wind, solar). Since early 2013, Tractebel Engineering has been contracted to carry out studies of several interlinked projects.



“High-level, strong relationships with Mr Mohamed Salem Bechir, recently appointed Minister Hydraulics & Sanitation who as the former Director General, SOMELEC, was deeply involved on many of the projects, and Mr. Mamadou Kane , General Manager SPEG, have played an important part in the chain of contracts we have received – as well as project progress to date. Also key is the local partnership developed (as is Tractebel Engineering’s way), with a quality, local engineering company BET-GP, whose good position on the Mauritanian energy market helps increase our reactivity at ground level.” Nedim Topal – Business Development Manager Africa

THE VALUE OF PARTNERSHIP

Success in Mauritania relies on concerted effort; from the relationships developed, to the integrated teamwork, methodology, approach and quality of work carried out by Tractebel Engineering; which has gained the trust and support of both project investors and its clients.

FACING THE CHALLENGE TOGETHER
For Mauritania, this transformation is a complex process requiring coherence between multiple projects supported by international funders including AFD (Agence Française de Développement) and FADES (Fonds Arabe de Développement Economique et Social). Tractebel Engineering’s transversal and global view of the projects, as well as its experience in interfacing with investors, clients and contractors, is of high value in ensuring the full value chain is put in place respecting timeframes and budgets.



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ROLLING OUT THE PLAN

The strategic study has a long-term horizon of 2020; but it also defined key Phase 1 projects to be completed by 2015 – 2016 as the first steps needed to implement Mauritania’s Gas to Power Strategy as well its developing Renewable Energy ambitions. Read about these key projects:

120 MW CCGT PP
CLIENT: SPEG (Société de Production d’Energie à partir du Gaz)
SCOPE: Preparation of all technical specifications for all packages: Civil Works, Electrical, Mechanical and I&C. Prequalification and selection of EPC Contractors.

A concept included in the first Gas to Power feasibility studies, Mauritania’s first 120 MW CCGT PP, north of Nouakchott, shares its site with a 180 MW Dual-Fuel (heavy-fuel and gas) PP and HV substation already in construction.

  • With the promise of future, direct gas supply, the plan is for the high-efficiency CCGT PP to feed base load power to the national grid, gold mines, Mali and Senegal; with the Dual-Fuel PP covering mid-merit and peak load.
  • Both plants will connect to the grid via the one HV substation. Tractebel Engineering T&D experts are liaising with substation contractor SEGELEC, on its required expansion and shared grid interconnections.
  • Timing has been and remains a critical challenge: in terms of selecting contractors able to meet a tight construction deadline (and provide long term O&M support for the CCGT PP, substation and grid interface); and in the planning to ensure the project is in line with the development of the supply gas pipeline and Tullow Oil gas station projects.

Read about these key projects:



View 225 kV OHL National Grid Extension in a larger map

ROLLING OUT THE PLAN

The strategic study has a long-term horizon of 2020; but it also defined key Phase 1 projects to be completed by 2015 – 2016 as the first steps needed to implement Mauritania’s Gas to Power Strategy as well its developing Renewable Energy ambitions. Read about these key projects:

225 kV OHL National Grid Extension
CLIENT: SPEG (Société de Production de l’Electricité à partir du Gaz)
SCOPE: PHASE 1: Route and Detailed Design confirmation for a 225 kV OHL and associated works; Studies and Assistance in the selection of Contractors – preparation of technical specifications, pre-qualification, selection and contract negotiations. PHASE 2: Construction Supervision (option).

For Mauritania, reliant on a limited medium 90 kV transmission system except for a short 225 kV interconnection to Senegal, going from a basic to a fairly sophisticated grid able to accommodate the additional capacity generated by new PP and Renewable Energy facilities involves a lot of new infrastructure. SPEG (in particular SOMELEC) is relying on Tractebel Engineering expertise and experience to achieve this.

  • The project involves a new 500 km long, 225 kV OHL connecting Nouakchott and the northern port city of Nouadhibou – one of the longest HV OHLs of its kind in the region and the first 225 kV line in the country.
  • The OHL will run north parallel to the coastline from an existing substation south of Nouakchott, via 4 new HV substations, to Nouadhibou. A midway junction and 50 km OHL and connection will be taken to gold mines in the east.
  • The route and proposed solutions also take into consideration aspects such as future gas pipelines, plans for a new airport near Nouakchott and harsh environmental conditions: strong winds, shifting sand dunes (impacting foundations) and highly corrosive coastal air.
  • Project challenges are the distance, environmental complications and tight timing: in planning the schedule it has been estimated that up to 29 erection teams will need to work in parallel to meet the proposed 2 year deadline (taking into account meteorological constraints – strong winds and heavy rain seasons).

Read about these key projects:


  • Site Survey for OHL interconnection with Senegal-Guillaume de Bournonville (Tractebel Engineering Environmental consultant) and Cheikh Ely Mohamed (BET-GP)
  • Site survey for interconnection OHL with Senegal © Tractebel Engineering

 

ROLLING OUT THE PLAN

The strategic study has a long-term horizon of 2020; but it also defined key Phase 1 projects to be completed by 2015 – 2016 as the first steps needed to implement Mauritania’s Gas to Power Strategy as well its developing Renewable Energy ambitions. Read about these key projects:

225kV OHL interconnection with Senegal
CLIENT: SPEG (Société de Production de l’Electricité à partir du Gaz) / OMVS (Organisation pour la Mise en Valeur du fleuve Sénégal)
SCOPE: Feasibility study, Route confirmation, Environmental studies and Detailed Design of a 225 kV OHL and associated works interconnecting Mauritania and Senegal between Nouakchott and Tobene.

Awarded in September 2013, Tractebel Engineering also has the contract for a 225 kV OHL Mauritania/Senegal, 444 km interconnection between Nouakchott /Tobene.

Both SOMELEC and OMVS (Senegal’s TSO) have vested interest in increasing the capacity and security of their current, single circuit regional link.

In parallel to the feasibility study and Power System assessment studies, Tractebel Engineering will define the best OHL route, taking technical, environmental, social, economic and power system benefits into account.

4 different routes are being studied with important consideration given to:

  1.  The upgrade of Mauritania’s main existing 90 kV Ben-Nadji substation;
  2. The environmental implications of routing via Diama Dam (Mauritania) and wetlands, versus the cost of a direct, but longer route, to a new Saint Louis substation in Senegal;
  3. Crossing the Senegal River (impacting tower height and foundation design);
  4. Creating a new OHL corridor from Saint Louis to Tobene (added security), or making cost-effective use of the existing OHL corridor (towers etc.) Sakal to Tobene.

Read about these key projects:


  • Nouakchott wind farm: middle Mr Mohamed Ould Bilal General Manager SOMELEC left Mrs Amal Maouloud Project Manager Somelec © Tractebel Engineering
  • Somelec, Tractebel Engineering and Elecnor teams © Tractebel Engineering
  • Olivier Moreau Project Manager and Somelec workers © Tractebel Engineering
  • Pierre Debauche (Tractebel Engineering) geotechnical expert showing soil investigation © Tractebel Engineering
  • Soil investigatiion machine © Tractebel Engineering

 

ROLLING OUT THE PLAN

The strategic study has a long-term horizon of 2020; but it also defined key Phase 1 projects to be completed by 2015 – 2016 as the first steps needed to implement Mauritania’s Gas to Power Strategy as well its developing Renewable Energy ambitions. Read about these key projects:

Owner’s Engineer on Mauritania’s first 30 MW Wind Farm
CLIENT: SOMELEC
SCOPE: Owner’s Engineer Mission

Outside of the Gas to Power Strategy, this project is part of a national programme to include Renewable Energies (solar and wind) in the Mauritanian energy mix. Its importance was highlighted by the laying of the first stone by His Excellence Mohamed Ould Abdul Aziz, Président of the République, at a special ceremony in May 2013. With the goal to complete the farm in June 2014, SOMELEC has placed high value on Tractebel Engineering’s expertise and advice in all phases of the project’s management since they took it over (mid-tendering phase) as Owner’s Engineer in October 2012.

  • All technical specifications were duly checked and revised to ensure performance and compliance with international standards and the call for tender was launched end of 2012. Bid evaluations were finalised in May 2013 with Spanish EPC contractor ELECNOR selected.
  • The wind farm will consist of 15 x 2 MW turbines, a MW collection network, a double connection to Nouakchott 33kV network, plus all necessary civil works. Site works are well underway.
  • The site is located 11 km south of Nouakchott, close to the coast where it benefits from wind speeds averaging 7.8 m/sec. But this also poses challenges, including high tide up-swelling of salty underground water – corrosive to concrete foundations. Sea air is also an issue for turbine corrosion. Tractebel Engineering has recommended that critical components be 1.5 m above ground-level and that exposed elements are treated and coated to withstand these harsh conditions for 20 years.

Read about these key projects:


“While studying the integration of a single RE project we’re also trying to achieve coherence between all the energy projects across the country. That we are working with other Tractebel Engineering teams on every front makes it easier to coordinate and collect the data needed to run our software. With the ultimate goal being to provide the best quality and assessment possible, this is a unique asset on a challenging but fascinating PSC project!” Fortunato Villella – Project Manager, Power System Consulting

 

ROLLING OUT THE PLAN

The strategic study has a long-term horizon of 2020; but it also defined key Phase 1 projects to be completed by 2015 – 2016 as the first steps needed to implement Mauritania’s Gas to Power Strategy as well its developing Renewable Energy ambitions. Read about these key projects:

Integration of Renewable Energies into the Mauritania grid
CLIENT: SOMELEC (For Ministry of Energy, Petroleum & Mining)
SCOPE: Power Systems Consulting (PSC) study

Mauritania’s power system picture is changing, very quickly, with fast-track projects aiming to add new OHL lines, new generators and improved visibility of the network with SCADA systems – all at once. Part of this transformation is the actual and desired development of Renewable Energies, alongside the Gas to Power Strategy. A 15 MW Solar PV, is already installed and operating. Within the Nouakchott Wind Farm project, Tractebel Engineering was therefore awarded a further contract to study the situation in order to answer several key questions:

  • How to achieve the optimal integration of the wind farm into the expanding grid?
  • How the new Renewable Energy plants (PV solar and Wind) will impact the new power system?
  • What is the maximum Renewable Energy that can be reliably integrated into the new power system without jeopardising the 2020 Gas to Power Strategy?
  • What is the cost impact of the Renewable Energy on the conventional generation units and transmission system?

Read about these key projects:

Client Value

“On behalf of myself and my team, I would like to express our deep appreciation for the quality of work that you (Tractebel Engineering) have done and for the high level of professionalism and availability you have shown throughout the process of engagement…” Mr Mohamed Salem Bechir, former Director General SOMELEC, now Minister of Hydraulics & Sanitation

New Project

Tractebel Engineering has been contracted for the feasibility study, Economic & Social Impact studies and tender preparation for a 50 MW Dual-Fuel PP to power Zouérate iron-ore mining facilities, in the far north of the country.

More information

Nedim Topal – Business Development Manager Africa
Mahendra Vermaut – Product Manager, Power Plant Development
Bertrand Pairon – Project Manager CCGT project
Veronique Beghin – Project Manager T&D OHL projects
Olivier Moreau – Project Manager Wind project
Fortunato Villella – Project Manager RE Integration PSC project

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