ABB has supplied highly complex electrical systems and grid connections for a mega power generation and water desalination project in Qatar. The combined cycle power plant in the industrial city of Ras Laffan, Qatar, has a generating capacity of 2730 megawatts, and can produce more than 8.4 million cubic feet (238,000 cubic meters) of potable water daily. This equates to 20 percent of Qatar’s water consumption and 30 percent of its electricity generation.
ABB’s German and Swiss operations provided the design, supply, installation, and commissioning of the plant’s electrical systems, including substations rated at 400 kilovolts (kV), 220 kV and 132 kV; two 800 megavolt ampere MVA interbus transformers; eight generator circuit breakers for the gas turbines; the isolated phase ducts, the direct current (DC) supply and uninterruptable power supply (UPS); transformer protection system, seventy-five medium- and low-voltage switchgears, and cable systems with a total length of more than 620 miles (1000 kilometers).
ABB was responsible for complete engineering services, construction supervision, and commissioning of the electrical systems, as well as for staff training. A consortium comprising Suez Energy International, Mitsui, Ras Girtas Power Company, and Qatar Petroleum developed the plant, which sells water and electricity to the local utility, Kahramaa.
Very early in the tendering stage the EPC Hyundai Engineering and Construction supported by Suez/Mitsui signed a cooperation agreement with ABB, due to the highly complex nature of the electrical systems in the project. This was to limit their risk and was a direct result of ABB’s excellent track record in Qatar with Kahramaa. Ras Laffan was the third large project ABB has successfully completed in the country, after Ras Abu Fontas B2 in 2008 and Quatalum in 2009.
ABB products make up 71 percent of the hardware scope of supply, and ABB resources constitute 67 percent of the services. Total investment for the power and desalination plant amounts to $3.7 billion. ABB’s project management was based in Mannheim (Germany), which during the engineering phase had to coordinate design offices in Abu Dhabi, Kosice (Slovakia), Baden (Switzerland) and the general basic design with offices in Seoul (Korea). A total of forty-one factory acceptance tests held in the span of ninety-four days were successfully completed. Logistical challenges included 308,924 square feet (28,700 square meters) of freight managed in some sixty-one shipments.
ABB’s Swiss operations supplied some of the largest substations in the Middle East region for this project, including thirty-one bays of 400 kV gas-insulated switchgear (GIS), twelve bays of 220 kV GIS and twelve bays of 132 kV GIS, as well as associated systems, such as IEC 61850 substation automation, control, protection, telecommunication and auxiliary systems. ABB and its subcontractors performed 200,000 man-hours of work within the three years between go-ahead and hand-over.
ABB engineers and technicians from around the globe, including Germany, Switzerland, the United States, Canada, the Philippines and Korea helped complete this demanding project.
Following the hand-over, Hyundai project management commented: “Hyundai and ABB have pulled together to achieve the common targets for this project. Most of our plans have been completed successfully. We have mastered difficult and serious risks with the help of our strong cooperation and proper coordination, in spite of many unexpected obstacles and interruptions from the start-up until now, the finish. We are grateful to ABB and ABB staff for the positive cooperation and assistance, which proves ABB’s reputation and capability as a highly qualified company in the field of power systems worldwide.” ■
Bill Rose is the media relations manager for ABB Inc.—a leader in power and automation technologies that enable utility and industry customers to improve their performance while lowering environmental impact. He can be reached at For more information about ABB, visit
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