IRN talks to Peter den Boogert, global business development director of Altaaqa Global, the new Dubai-based power rental company created by Saudia Arabian Cat dealer Zahid Tractor.
Altaaqa is another name that we will have to get used to in the international power projects (IPP) market. One of five partners with Caterpillar for IPP projects, Altaaqa Global is the new international power rental business from Saudi Arabia’s Zahid Group, which is one of Cat’s biggest dealers.
Zahid has been operating a power rental business in Saudi since 2004, called Altaaqa Alternative Solutions (‘Altaaqa’ means energy in Arabic), but the new venture is a separate operation, headquartered in Dubai, and targeting work outside the Kingdom.
Peter den Boogert, the former general manager of Rental Solutions & Services (RSS) joined the business in May 2012 as global business development director, working with Steve Meyrick, managing director, an experienced Zahid manager.
“It’s the first company outside of Saudi Arabia for Zahid”, says Mr Boogert, “But being a Cat dealer it is already used to working with multi-national customers. The step to Dubai was not difficult, but it’s a significant one. They really believe in what we are doing, and they have a well thought-out business plan.”
Working alongside the Saudi Arabian business, which already has a fleet of 700 MW of power, Altaaqa Global will target large projects throughout the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere. “We’re concentrating on the Middle East and Africa…but we have the licence from Cat to go global, so if there are opportunities in South America or Asia, we will surely go there.”
Of course, there are a number of players in the IPP market, so where does Altaaqa see its strength? Mr den Boogert says the configuration of its power plants will be very efficient, using a mix of Cat diesel powered units offering 1360 kVA and 2000 kVA as well as a gas powered Cat 1475 units.
So far the business has invested in 79 of the Cat XQ2000 units and 12 1360 kVA sets, and enough transmission and switchgear equipment for 120 MW of power.
Mr den Boogert says its diesel generators will be the most efficient of any large IPP rental player, and that it aims also in the future to compete with Aggreko’s recently launched HFO (heavy fuel oil) gensets.
“We have started a programme – in the very preliminary stages – for HFO. WE are looking at it, and might have it within a year...They [Aggreko] have an HFO engine, but not at the scale that we are looking at.”
Just as important, he says the Altaaqa equipment has been designed to be quick to install; “We are using the newest equipment, and engineered for IPP projects. The transmission equipment have protection systems integrated that you find in sub-stations, so we can connect directly to a grid without sub-stations. It makes us more flexible. We are focused on IPP business with or without transformers.”
With a 43000 m2 “centre of excellence” now being built at the Dubai World Central Free Zone, which is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2014, the company has recently undertaken its first job, a 24 MW contract in Oman that was installed in just four days.
Mr den Boogert says the aim is to have a fleet of around 700-750 MW within five or six years. “We have the financial capacity”, he says, “The Zahid family does not get into adventures. That gives both parties – us and our customers – a lot of confidence.”