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Keppel Corp's environmental arm wins S$1.7b Qatar contract

By Jeana Wong, Channel News Asia

Keppel Seghers - the environmental arm of Keppel Corp - is breaking into the Middle East market in a big way. It has been chosen to build a solid waste management project in Qatar worth S$1.7 billion.

Details of the deal and other overseas projects were revealed at the company's ground-breaking for Singapore's fifth and latest incineration plant on Thursday. Keppel Seghers owns in-house technologies that can turn waste into power. And its latest S$180 million, waste-to-energy plant in Singapore is an example of how the company tailors such technologies to various markets.

The new facility begins construction on Thursday and has been adapted to fit Singapore's waste profile, which is said to feature more food and wet contents compared to Europe's trash.

Chua Chee Wui, CEO, Keppel Integrated Engineering, said: "What we've done in our technology to adapt to Singapore condition is that we've introduced air-cooled rather than water-cooled grate to adapt to the wetter type of waste that you see in Singapore. That will increase the efficiency of the plant."

The air-cooled tumbling grates, which help to rotate and even out the amount of waste fed into the system, is just one of the in-house technologies developed by Keppel Seghers.

The other technologies include boilers as well as a system that removes dust and chemicals from the gas produced during the burning process.

Keppel Seghers says its proprietary technologies are making it big in the Middle East - where it received an award letter to build and run a S$1.7 billion solid waste project in Qatar over 20 years.

It expects the deal to be inked in about one week.

Mr Chua said: "The Qatari government will be the investor of this plant, which means they will pay us for building the plant and for operating the plant. The Qatari project will also have a component for waste-to-energy. On top of that, it has other components like composting, recycling and water treatment as well. That's one of the more sizable projects that we have apart from the usual, other projects that we get from Europe, China and other parts of the world."

The new plant in Singapore is forecasted to generate half a billion dollars worth of revenue over the next 25 years. The facility can reduce the waste it processes to as low as 4 percent of the original intake, bringing Singapore one step closer to its vision of zero landfill by 2012.

For the three months to October, the company won S$57 million worth of waste-to-energy contracts in Finland and cities in China. It says these contracts are for purchases of its technologies and parts, which is why they are significantly smaller than its integrated project in Qatar.

However, the contracts are not expected to have a significant impact on the company's assets and earnings for its 2006 financial year.

Back home, Keppel's incineration plant will sit on a Tuas South site next to an existing plant and replace Singapore's Ulu Pandan facility when completed in three years.

Capable of handling 800 tonnes of solid waste a day, the facility is adding about 10 percent to Singapore's existing incineration capacity of 2.3 million tonnes a year.

However, the plant can only churn out 20 megawatt of power from Singapore's waste, adding marginally to the country's electricity output.

Still, Keppel says the facility can reduce the waste it processed to as low as 4 percent of the original intake, therefore helping Singapore get closer to a zero landfill vision by 2012.

Keppel Seghers is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Keppel Integrated Engineering, the engineering arm of Keppel Corp. - CNA/ch


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