No. 4, 2011

Vladimir Rogov


LUKOIL is increasing its energy capacity in Krasnodar Territory

Operating in the Power Generation sector today are 18 LUKOIL Group organizations engaged in production, transportation and sale of electricity. One of the key generating subsidiaries is JSC LUKOIL-Kubanenergo, the biggest electricity producer in Krasnodar Territory. October 8, 2011, saw an event of special importance to the company: LUKOIL-Kubanenergo started up a modern 410 MW combined cycle gas turbine unit (CCGT-410) at the Krasnodar Thermal Power Plant.

The heart of the Krasnodar energy system

In 2008, LUKOIL acquired assets of the Southern Generating Company - Territorial Generating Company-8 (YuGC GK-8), thereby becoming a notable player on the electricity markets of the Astrakhan, Volgograd and Rostov regions, the Krasnodar and Stavropol territories, as well as the republics of Dagestan and Adygeya. The Company's newly-formed electric power business unit was thus joined by the Krasnodar Thermal Power Plant (TPP) - one of the oldest electric power plants in the North Caucasus, providing heat and electricity to Krasnodar, the territorial capital, and many other areas in the Territory.

Construction began on the Thermal Power Plant back in 1951 and the first 25 MW turbine was started up in 1954. At the same time, despite the power plant's venerable age, a large part of its equipment was still in good condition at the beginning of the 21st century - a repair program for the main and auxiliary equipment of the plant had been properly planned and implemented for many decades. Even so, the LUKOIL management did not confine itself to operating the existing capacity of the Thermal Power Plant but approved an ambitious project for its further development, using the most advanced generating units in the world.

It was decided to update the Krasnodar Thermal Power Plant by installing a 410 MW combined cycle gas turbine unit (CCGT-410). A gas vapor or combined cycle is one of the latest, most economical technologies for producing electricity and thermal energy at thermal power plants, which is why the Company opted in favor of such a unit.

The specialists of the Thermal Power Plant analyzed the output of the leading gas turbine equipment manufacturers and recognized the turbine equipment produced by Mitsubishi as the most up-to-date machines. These extremely powerful units are relatively compact. They use state-of-the art metal protection technology - alongside heat-resistant metals, ceramet is used here, as well as oxide coatings - in order to raise the temperature in the combustion chamber to the maximum and thus increase the turbine's efficiency.

Not only is the capacity of the new equipment being increased, but also a transition being made to a new so-called binary or combined cycle. The original Soviet turbines released hot gases into the atmosphere and the heat was irretrievably lost, meaning that the efficiency factor of these machines averaged only 27%. The difference with the Japanese machines, with their efficiency factor (not taking the steam cycle into account) of 38%, is a tangible one. The turbine heat is used to make steam, which then transforms its energy into mechanical operations of a steam turbine connected to the cycle of the gas turbine, bringing the efficiency factor of the new equipment up to 57%.

Up to global environmental standards

The company's focus is on environmental safety. For instance, its environmental expenditures in 2010 alone amounted to almost 4 million rubles.

Environmental measures embrace disposal of production waste; regular monitoring of the quality of ground and surface waters, soils, emissions and discharges; and control over the quality of the air in terms of chemical and physical factors on the border of the sanitary buffer zone. Control impact monitoring of the air and water bodies confirms that the duly established emissions and discharges of pollutants are not being exceeded. In 2012, the existing water purification plant is to be renovated at a cost of 16.5 million rubles.

About 98% of the fuel used by the company for energy generation is natural gas, the most environmentally friendly fuel produced. We know that, when it burns, a considerably smaller volume of harmful substances is produced than by other fuels. Back at the end of the 1980s and in the early 1990s, the TPP was upgraded to greatly reduce its environmental impact. It continued to develop in line with global energy trends, and focused on cutting NO and CO emissions. With the help of solutions developed by the All-Union Heat-Engineering Institute the TPP boiler burners were reconstructed and, as a result, emissions of harmful substances have been brought down to the most stringent global standards. The equipment of the Thermal Power Plant, both the old part and the CCGT-410, ensure complete fuel combustion. As a consequence, no smoke can be seen emerging from the Thermal Power Plant's chimneys since, at a temperature of 5°C, there is only a slight haze of heated air, and even that depends on what fuel is being used at the plant -­ gas, fuel oil or diesel fuel.

It is important that, even after building the CCGT-410, the enterprise remained within the bounds of its previous sanitary buffer zone. This was made possible by use of free areas on the territory of the Thermal Power Plant and the relative compactness of the new unit.

The best in Russia

Ilyas Zagretdinov, Senior Deputy General Director of Group 4, the general contractor that built the facility, is convinced that the CCGT-410 will be the most economical power unit in Russia. The complex is, moreover, unique in many ways. Suffice it to say that it takes only 16 minutes to start up the gas turbine.

The efficiency of the CCGT will undoubtedly have a positive effect on the company's financial results. After all, fuel has traditionally accounted for about 80% of the electricity generation cost. "Using the old equipment, the specific consumption per 1 kWh was 350-360 grams of fuel equivalent, whereas, under standard operating conditions for the combined cycle plant, our respective consumption will be 200-220 grams of fuel equivalent, so we are reducing the Thermal Power Plant's specific consumption of fuel equivalent on producing electricity by an average of 20%, to 300 grams of fuel equivalent per kWh. Accordingly, there will be a proportional drop in the production cost of the electricity we generate. Introduction of the CCGT will bring the capacity of our Thermal Power Plant up from 740 MWh to 1090 MWh," noted Ilgiz Gareyev, General Director of JSC LUKOIL-Kubanenergo.

The reserve fuel for the old equipment section of the Thermal Power Plant will remain fuel oil, while for the CCGT it will be diesel fuel. The petroleum products are supplied to LUKOIL-Krasnodarenergo by LUKOIL's Volgograd Refinery.

Until the CCGT-410 was started up, the Krasnodar Thermal Power Plant included a unit section consisting of four open configuration units, and a nonunit section consisting of six boilers and five generators. It was decided that, after the CCGT started operating, the plant's outdated equipment would be gradually phased out. Thus, in the very near future, two turbines with an aggregate capacity of 64 MW and two power boilers producing a total of 260 tons per hour will be dismantled, as they have been in operation for over 50 years.

At the same time, the assurance coefficient and design solutions of most of the old, Soviet-time equipment show that it is completely reliable; after all, the plant has been constantly improved throughout its history and has always kept up with the development of the world power industry. Theoretically, one option for the further development of the power plant is for the old equipment to be gradually replaced by new. This would also make it possible to raise the efficiency factor, but only by 3-4%, that is, within the limits of the possibilities of an ordinary steam turbine cycle. Such machines have a service life of about 30 years. The advantage of taking this development route is that it is less expensive. At the same time, combined cycle equipment is so economical and efficient that the long-term investment plan provides for construction of one more CCGT-410, though the specific time schedule for this project has not yet been confirmed.

The increase in the plant's capacity was also dictated by current market conditions. Krasnodar Territory produces over 30% of all the energy consumed there, while it receives the rest of the electricity it needs from neighboring energy systems, mainly the power plants of Rostov Region and Stavropol Territory. By 2014,  Krasnodar Territory anticipates a rise in electricity consumption by roughly 40%. LUKOIL-Kubanenergo, the operator of the Krasnodar Thermal Power Plant, meeting some 20% of the Territory's total electricity demand, has also set sights, among other things, on strengthening its positions on the region's promising electricity market.

Start-up of the CCGT-410 is part of LUKOIL's large-scale investment program in the Power Generation business sector for increasing efficiency. The program envisages an increase, by 2019, in the proportion of economical CCGT units to 24% of the aggregate installed capacity of the Company's generating facilities.

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Oil of Russia, No. 4, 2011
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