By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Production at Metahara Sugar factory in Ethiopia has successfully been repowered by GE’s Power Services business and FieldCore.
The plant was shut down seven months ago after it was severely damaged by a major thunderstorm, but the outage execution service of two steam turbines, which lasted 20 days, succeeded in bringing back 5000 person workforce and solving sugar scarcity for Ethiopia’s more than 100 million population.
The Metahara Sugar Factory is in the Oromiya Regional State, about 200 kilometers from Addis Ababa and produces about 136,000 tons of sugar annually, representing an estimated 20 percent of Ethiopia’s sugar consumption.
Deputy Factory Manager of Metahara sugar factory, Mr Fahmi Dawud, said that the team providing solutions and getting the factory back up and running in a record 20 days was a miracle.
“We had lost all hope that these extremely aged units, manufactured by Compagnie Electro Mecanique, in the fifties, would ever come online again due to the damage.
“Hotels and supermarkets had run out of sugar and it was a critical situation. We are indeed excited to hear the machines humming again,” he said.
GE’s scope of work for this execution included provision of qualified personnel, inspection, servicing, testing and commissioning of the assets, safety and control devices, lube oil supply, speed reduction gear box, generators, control panels with AVRs as well as cold and hot recommissioning of the steam turbines.
“GE created a new industrial field services company – FieldCore – to bring together field expertise and more than 10,500 people from Granite Services and GE’s Power Services business into one field services company whose goal is world-class execution for our customers,” said Mr Elisee Sezan, General manager, GE’s Power Services business for Sub-Saharan Africa.
“We all experienced a great sense of accomplishment when the turbines were revived at startup. This project reflects the passion, the wealth of power generation experience and the world-class services capabilities that keeps GE and FieldCore competitive and consistent around the globe for customers,” he added.
Daniel Hailu, Executive Country Business Leader for GE Global Growth Organization, explained that sugar is a key commodity for Ethiopia, both for local consumption and export.
“It’s extremely important for the country’s foreign currency revenue stream. We are honoured that we are able to support the country to remedy this situation and protect its revenue,” he said.
GE works with the government, corporate customers and other stakeholders in Ethiopia to support economic growth through infrastructure development in the power, healthcare and transport sectors. In 2016, GE opened a 60-capacity permanent office in Addis Ababa, and now has over 40 employees – more than 90 percent of which are Ethiopians.
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