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Finder Pompe supplies HHI’s Jeddah South Thermal Power Plant in Saudi Arabia

Finder Screw Pump.
Finder Screw Pump.

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Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., Ltd., (HHI) became a reality in 1972 when the late Chung Ju-yung took a deserted stretch of beach in the port city of Ulsan, South Korea, and turned it into the world’s largest shipyard. After only 10 years of operation, HHI was acknowledged as the world’s largest shipbuilding company, and it has maintained that position to this day.

While shipbuilding is the foundation of HHI’s success, Chung’s overriding goal for his company was to become a global leader in the overarching heavy-industries business sector. To that end, HHI now consists of seven business divisions. One of the first of these business divisions to be formed by HHI is the Industrial Plant & Engineering Division, which was created in 1975. The focus of the Industrial Plant & Engineering Division is providing sophisticated project-implementation capabilities for power plants on a turnkey basis. This includes the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) phases, under which HHI, as the primary EPC contractor, designs the installation, procures the necessary materials and builds the facility, either directly or by subcontracting some of the work.

Steam is the prime mover

The Industrial Plant & Engineering Division’s core activities include the EPC of thermal power plants. Thermal power plants are power stations where the prime mover is steam. During operation, water is heated, turns into steam and spins a steam turbine that drives an electrical generator, creating electricity for consumption. While most thermal power plants operate on the same electricity-generating principle, the major difference in their operation is how the steam-creating water is heated, which is most commonly by coal or oil.

HHI has recently found a willing partner in the EPC of thermal power plants in the country of Saudi Arabia. Thanks to a rapid rise in urbanization and the Saudi government’s aggressive industrial modernization program, strain is being put on the country’s utilities. With Saudi electricity consumption expected to grow at an annual rate of 5.5%, the Saudi Electric Company (SEC) has embarked on a plan in recent years to build a number of new thermal power plants.

Setting a new standard

In October 2012, SEC announced that it had contracted with HHI to construct the €2.4 billion (US$3.2 billion) Jeddah South Thermal Power Plant near the town of Jeddah on the country’s Red Sea coast. When completed in early 2017, the Jeddah South facility will be Saudi Arabia’s largest thermal power plant and will feature four 660-MW steam turbines, which will give it the capability to produce 2,640 MW of electricity. This capacity will give the facility the ability to produce enough electricity for two million people, or 5% of Saudi Arabia’s entire power-generation demand.

As the project’s sole EPC contractor, HHI will carry out all processes of the project on a turnkey basis, ranging from designing the plant to procuring the required equipment, construction of the plant itself and operating test runs. The plant will feature a highly efficient, fuel-saving supercritical pressure boiler, which will be the first of its kind to be used in Saudi Arabia.

The capacity of the Jeddah South plant will be only slightly less than the 2,750-MW power-generation and desalination plant that HHI constructed in Marafiq, Saudi Arabia, which is the world’s largest privately funded plant of its type. After gaining the contract for the Jeddah South facility, HHI now has orders for power plants and desalination facilities with a total capacity of 13,000 MW and a combined worth of €7.4 billion (US$10 billion) in the Middle Eastern countries of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain.

“In the midst of the global economic crisis, Hyundai Heavy Industries’ independent technological expertise and competitiveness was once again acknowledged by winning this mega-project as the sole EPC contractor,” said Lee Jai-seong, President and CEO of HHI, on the day the Jeddah South agreement was announced. “We expect the successful management of the power plant to serve as a stepping stone for Hyundai Heavy Industries to emerge as a leading industrial-plant EPC contractor.”

Finding the right partners

While HHI carries the mantle of the sole EPC contractor for the Jeddah South project, its ultimate success will be determined by how a number of disparate parts are combined to make the plant an operational whole. With that in mind, in January 2013, HHI put out the call for companies that could supply various pieces of equipment needed for the plant’s operation.

One such type of equipment were industrial pumps that possessed the capability to convey several different types of liquid media at the plant, including heavy fuel and crude oil, distillate fuel oil, boiler water, seawater, oil, oily water, rainwater and chemical water. The original project specs called for centrifugal pumps to be used exclusively for these applications, but then HHI revised the plans and decided that a mix of centrifugal and screw-pump technologies would be required.

Seeing that screw pumps would be required for Jeddah South’s construction piqued the interest of Finder Pompe, S.p.A., Merate, Italy, since it was one of two companies who were bidding on the project that could supply both centrifugal and screw-pump technology. Finder has more than 60 years of operation as one of Italy’s suppliers of engineered pumps, spare parts and related services for critical applications in the power-generation, oil and gas, and general industrial process industries, and recently became a member of the Dover Corporation’s Pump Solutions Group (PSG®), Oakbrook Terrace, IL, USA.

Not only could Finder supply the pumps that HHI required, but it had the advantage of a successful past history with HHI. In particular, Finder had supplied large numbers of pumps for a series of floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) units for use in oil exploration that were being constructed by HHI’s Offshore & Engineering Division, including:

  • 48 pumps for Eni Norge/Statoil’s Goliat FPSO in Norway in 2010
  • 17 pumps for Total’s Ofon FPSO in Nigeria in 2010
  • 24 pumps for PTT Exploration and Production’s Bongkot FPSO in Thailand in 2009
  • 27 pumps for Total’s Usan FPSO in Nigeria in 2009

Because of this past history and Finder’s ability to meet all technical requirements, along with HHI’s need for flexibility regarding pump supply, cost and delivery, as well as its goal of introducing a new pump supplier to the market, in June 2013 it announced that Finder had secured the contract to supply a total of 99 pumps with value of €11 million (US$14.9 million) for the Jeddah South Thermal Power Plant. This made it the largest pump order that Finder had ever received.

Specifically, the order breaks down this way:

• Thirty-nine (39) RRLO Series API 676 Twin Screw Pumps. The pumps are designed and built in accordance with API 676 norms. They are self-priming and can convey fluids containing gas or air. The wear-resistant inner casing can be cast in a wide range of materials, with optional wear-resistant surface treatments also available. The screw shafts are machined from forged mono block pieces or bars and hardened steel gears are fitted directly on the rotors while over-dimensioned roller bearings ensure smooth and reliable operation. All RRLO pumps include relief valves that can meet the particular requirements of the plant. Optional steam or hot-fluid heating chambers are also available.

• Twenty-eight (28) HC Series ISO 5199 Vertical Sump and eighteen (18) ISO 5199 Vertical Turbine Pumps. These centrifugal pumps are designed and manufactured according to ISO 5199-ISO2858 norms, making them suitable for process applications in the chemical industry, as well as heavy-duty general services in all industrial fields. They are designed to operate at both 50 and 60 Hz at temperatures ranging from -40ºC to 350ºC (-40ºF to 662ºF) and up to 3,600 rpm.

The casing is radially split with end-suction and top-discharge nozzles, while the hydraulic axial thrust is balanced by means of back wear rings and balancing holes at the impeller’s eye. A deep stuffing box allows the use of either conventional or cartridge-style mechanical seals in single or double configurations. The pumps can be manufactured in any material combination depending on service conditions. A semi-open impeller design is also available for fluid-transfer operations that feature charged liquids or suspended solids.

• Fourteen (14) HPV Series VS4 API 610 Vertical Sump Pumps. These pumps are designed according to the norms of API 610, 11th edition, and are suitable for heavy-duty applications in many industries. Each HPV pump is engineered to suit the customer’s specifications, applications and needs. Any pump length from 0.5 to 6.5 m (1.6 to 21.3 feet) below the mounting plate can be achieved. Standard construction features a single-piece shaft guided by sleeve-type line bearings, where needed. The span between line bearings, which are available in different materials depending on pumped fluid and operating conditions, is studied for each application in order to assure reliable and smooth operation, paying special attention to critical lateral-speed issues.

Lubrication of the line bearings is normally obtained by means of the same pumped fluid or from an external lubricating source (clear liquid or grease) in abrasive services. The pumps are available in different materials depending on pumped fluid and operating conditions. The mounting plate, which is an integral part of the pump, can be designed in either square or round shape, to match sump or tank plates or flanges.

The pumps are scheduled to be delivered to the Jeddah South plant site in April, July and November of 2014, depending on the stage of construction, and are expected to be installed sometime in 2016 and go into operation when the plant begins producing electricity in the first quarter of 2017.


The same way that many pieces of equipment must work seamlessly in order to maximize the operation of a thermal power plant, equipment suppliers must be able to deliver more than just a satisfactory product in order to win the contract. Finder was able to secure the order for the Jeddah South project, not just because it had the best pumps, but also because it parlayed prompt and comprehensive communication and support during the budget and bidding phases, and competitiveness in price and delivery capabilities. Throw in its past history of meeting all of HHI’s requirements for other projects and you have the recipe for the largest pump order in the company’s history.

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