Dec 05, 2007
Hitachi and Steinmüller at odds over SA boiler ‘reference' sitesBack
Construction|Engineering|Africa|Alstom|Babcock Borsig|Babcock Borsig Services|Bilfinger & Berger|CoAL|Design|Deutsche Babcock|Eskom|Hitachi Ltd|Hitachi Power Africa|Hitachi Power Europe|L&C Steinmüller Group|Mail & Guardian|PROJECT|Project Management|Steinmüller Africa|Steinmuller Construction|Africa|Germany|Japan|South Africa|Lephalale Facility|Medupi Power Plant|R78,6-billion Medupi Power Plant|Boiler Technology|Energy|Equipment|Equipment Manufacturer|Installed Boiler Technology|Maintenance|Services|Steel|African National Congress|Energy Division Of Babcock Borsig|Fabrication|Hermann Brümmer|Power|Robin Duff|Boiler Technology|Installed Boiler |Installed Boiler Technology
© Reuse this
The dispute arose following an article published in Engineering News in which Hitachi Power Africa MD Robin Duff sought to clarify its relationship with Eskom and with Chancellor House, its 25% black economic empowerment partner, which is said to have strong ties to the ruling African National Congress.
Duff defended the relationship with Chancellor House, after leading national weekly the Mail & Guardian raised questions about whether the link played any role in the November 13 award by Eskom of a R20-billion boiler contract to a consortium comprising Hitachi Power Africa and Hitachi Power Europe (Germany). The contract for the Lephalale facility was, in fact, the biggest in Eskom's history and could well be followed by a similar sized contract for ‘Project Bravo', to be built nearly simultaneously at a site near Emalahleni, in Mpumalanga.
In his clarification, Duff noted that, while it was Hitachi Power Africa's first material contract with Eskom, the company's relationship spanned many decades, given that the installed boiler technology was now under the ownership of Hitachi.
He explained: "Through a series of mergers and acquisitions (Steinmüller was bought by Babcock Borsig in 1999 and the Energy Division of Babcock Borsig was bought by Hitachi in 2003), Hitachi Power is now the owner of all the know-how and references of the former L&C Steinmüller Group, which includes Majuba, Tutuka, Duvha and Kriel boilers, as well as the majority of the boilers installed at Sasol, which were engineered and supplied by Deutsche Babcock. Hitachi Power thus has a local boiler reference base of close to 20 000 MWe."
But this is disputed by Steinmüller Africa MD Hermann Brummer, who, in a letter to Engineering News, asserts the following: "While it is true that Hitachi Power Europe, with its subsidiary Hitachi Power Africa, a new entrant in the South African market, acquired the know-how as a result of the acquisitions referred to, ownership of know-how cannot be considered a sufficient basis for a claim of ‘references'."
Brummer stressed, too, that Steinmüller Africa has been responsible for the supply, erection and commissioning of the entire boiler island for most of Eskom's coal-fired stations. "As the original equipment manufacturer of these plants, Steinmuller Africa in fact has the ‘local boiler reference base of close to 20 000 MWe," he adds.
It was confirmed by both Brummer and Duff that there is no relationship between Hitachi Power and Steinmüller, with Hitachi Power owned by Hitachi Ltd, of Japan, and Steinmüller by Babcock Borsig Services, a subsidiary of Bilfinger & Berger, Germany.
It also emerged that Steinmüller Africa has participated in competing consortia for the Medupi contract, with Steinmuller having been part of the joint bid with Alstom, which eventually won the R13-billion turbine contract for the R78,6-billion Medupi power plant.
However, in a response to Engineering News questions Duff continued to assert that Hitachi Power Africa had a right to claim the references.
Duff elaborates: "The former L & C Steinmüller (LCS), Germany, engineered the 20 000 MW of Eskom's installed fleet in question. LCS's subsidiary, Steinmüller Africa, handled project management and local manufacture of the LCS scope. Steinmuller Construction, a subsidiary of Steinmuller Africa, did the erection of the boilers. At no time did Steinmuller Africa design any Eskom boilers and therefore is not the owner of any know-how or references."
It should be stressed, though, that Steinmüller Africa did not call into question the integrity of the Eskom tender process for Medupi, with Brummer emphasising its continued strong relations with Eskom and a desire to maintain and strengthen that relationship.
"Steinmüller recently re-established its fabrication facilities and continues to be a competitive player in the new capacity build market, while remaining committed to meeting Eskom's plant maintenance and enhancement requirements," Brummer stresses.
However, it is also interesting to note that Hitachi Power Africa selected construction and engineering group Murray & Roberts as its partner for the structural steel fabrication and erection, as well as mechanical installation works for the Medupi boiler package. Murray & Roberts has stated that the contract for the six 800-MW units are valued at about R 7-billion over a period of seven years.
Edited by: Terence Creamer© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Other Electricity News
Recent Research Reports
Defence 2014: A review of South Africa's defence industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Defence 2014 report examines South Africa’s defence industry, with particular focus on the key participants in the sector, the innovations that have come out of the sector, local and export demand, South Africa’s controversial multibillion-rand...
Road and Rail 2014: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2014 report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and the push to move road...
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
Real Economy Insight: Automotive 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the automotive industry over the past 12 months, including an overview of South Africa’s automotive market, trade figures, production and the policies influencing the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Construction 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the construction industry over the past 12 months. It provides an overview of the sector and includes details of employment in the sector, infrastructure and municipal spending, as well as insight into companies’...
Real Economy Insight: Electricity 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the electricity industry over the past 12 months, including details of State-owned power utility Eskom’s generation activities, funding and tariffs, independent power producers and prospects for the sector.
This Week's Magazine
JSE-listed real estate investment trust (REIT) Rebosis Property Fund achieved a distribution growth of 8.1% to 99.45c per linked unit in the financial year ended August 31, despite volatile market conditions.
A low-cost, inflatable incubator won this year’s international James Dyson design award, which aims to encourage and inspire the next generation of design engineers.
The World Bank released its ‘Doing Business 2015: Going Beyond Efficiency’ report last month and ranked South Africa 43 out of 189 global economies for its ease of doing business, with Singapore topping the rankings.
Air Products South Africa officially launched its R300-million Eastern Cape air- separation unit (ASU), at its new manufacturing facility in the Coega Industrial Development Zone (IDZ), earlier this month. It is the second facility that Air Products launched in South...
BMW South Africa (SA) has signed a power purchasing agreement with energy company Bio2Watt. The offtake partnership will bring renewable energy to the carmaker’s Rosslyn plant, north of Pretoria.