Power generation is an end link in the chain and the main driver of global growth in natural gas consumption today. It is, in fact, one of the means of commoditizing gas that makes the most of this resource’s inherent properties. As demand for electricity rises steadily, Total boasts several significant achievements in this booming sector, which dovetails perfectly with our role as a global energy provider.
Combined cycle generation and cogeneration: doubly efficient technologies
Gas-fired power generation offers a number of economic and environmental advantages. Burning natural gas emits less greenhouse gas than burning oil or coal. The most advanced technologies used in combined cycle plants, with their gas and steam turbines, and cogeneration plants, which produce heat and power simultaneously, deliver much higher energy performances — by more than 35% in some cases — than the conventional processes of open cycle power plants. Since both types of facility consume less fuel to produce comparable amounts of power, they have a multiplier effect on gas’s inherent qualities.
With their modest capital investment requirements, short construction lead times and proven reliability, combined cycle plants also stand out by offering very competitive costs per kWh.
Making our major production sites more energy efficient
In the last few years, we have invested extensively to upgrade the energy efficiency of our refineries and petrochemical plants, as demonstrated for example, by the construction of cogeneration plants at several such sites. In the cogeneration process, the steam generated by the heat of the gas turbines that produce the electricity can be reused in industrial processes.
The Normandy refinery in France, for instance, is now equipped with a cogeneration unit that supplies it with all the steam it needs for processes while generating surplus power sold on the national grid.
Selective investments and solutions tailored to the local situation
In Thailand, the Bang Bo combined cycle plant owned by Eastern Power and Electric Company Ltd (EPEC), a consortium in which Total has a 28% interest, is one of the most efficient in its class. Commissioned in 2003, the 350 MW plant boasts an efficiency of 56% — which is especially high given the hot and humid local climate.
In Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, Total has participated in every phase of the refurbishment and expansion of the Taweelah A1 plant. This complex combines 1,430 MW of power generation capacity, equivalent to the amount consumed by a city of nearly one million people, and 385,000 cubic meters a day of seawater desalination capacity. The water is used mainly for irrigation on farms and for the city’s plantations and parks.
In its current configuration, Taweelah A1 uses as much as 85% of the energy stored in gas fuel. Operated by Gulf Total Tractebel Power Company, in which Total holds a 20% interest, the plant boosted its capacity by 250 MW in 2009 with the Taweelah A10 extension.
In Nigeria, we are working alongside local authorities and national oil company NNPC on two projects that meet several goals under a comprehensive government plan. Objectives include optimizing the development of Nigeria’s resources, halting the flaring of associated gas produced with oil and bringing electricity to more communities.
The first project involves upgrading the 276 MW Afam V plant and developing the 600 MW Afam VI plant not far from Port Harcourt. The second, with Total as operator, entails building a combined cycle plant with a capacity of almost 400 MW near the city of Obite.