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An ambitious initiative led by Facebook and telecom carriers—dubbed 2Africa—has tabbed Alcatel Submarine Systems to supply 37,000 km of cable that is nearly triple the existing data capacity from sub-sea cables now serving Africa.

Per multiple media reports, Facebook Inc. and some of the world’s largest telecom carriers—including China Mobile, South Africa’s MTN, France’s Orange and Britain’s Vodafone as well as local network operators on the project—are joining forces to build the massive sub-sea cable, which is designed to bring more reliable and faster internet across Africa. The cost of the project will be just under $1 billion, according to one report that cited anonymous sources described as being “familiar with the project."

2Africa will connect Europe to the Middle East and 16 African countries, according to the reports. The undersea cable sector is experiencing a resurgence. Now tech giants, led by Facebook and Alphabet Inc.’s Google, are behind some 80% of the recent investment in transatlantic cable, driven by demand for fast-data transfers used for streaming movies to social messaging.

“2Africa is a continuation of our ongoing efforts to expand global network infrastructure,” a statement from Facebook said. “We have collaborated with partners all over the world to build several subsea fiber-optic cables that are leading the industry in terms of reach, capacity, and flexibility.”

The 2Africa cable will be one of the longest in the world, trailing Sea-Me-We 3, which is 39,000 km long and connects 33 countries, according to Submarine Cable Networks. Of note, Google is also working on an underwater cable, called Equiano, which would connect Africa with Europe.

South Korea’s LS Cable & System (LS C&S) reports that it has won a contract from TenneT to supply 210 km of HV cable for the grid connection of the Dutch offshore wind farms Hollandse Kust Noord and West Alpha.

A press release said that the overall project—which includes Jan De Nul Group, a marine construction company—was worth more than €100 million. The order represents “the first large contracts from Europe, the home of cables.” It added that it also puts LS C&S in a good position for future demand from “newly established EU HQ and expanding production subsidiaries.”"

The release said that the bidding process considered technical capabilities, quality of business operations in combination with pricing. “The evaluation of the bid shows that the winning consortium has the most economically advantageous proposal to carry out the challenging project.”

The Netherlands is constructing offshore wind farms with a total capacity of more than 11 gigawatts by 2030. The two offshore wind farms, it said, will have a total capacity of 1.4GW in the Dutch coastal waters by 2023.

Since 2012, LS C&S has supplied power cable to the U.K., Denmark, the Netherlands and Belgium. The company expects that the European submarine cable market will be worth billions of euros over the next five years. “LS C&S is planning to build on this major project and to do everything in its power to win more contracts for submarine cable projects in Western Europe including The Netherlands.”

Two transmission system operators—TenneT TSO GmbH and 50Hertz Transmission GmbH—have awarded contracts to the Prysmian Group and NKT GmbH to supply a total of 1,000 km of 525kV underground power cable for the 2-GW SuedOstLink transmission line in Germany.

When completed, the SuedOstLink will be the world’s first large commercial 525 kV XLPE high-voltage DC 2GW transmission line. The initiative is part of German corridor projects to significantly increase renewable energy supply in the country. The overall project, being funded within the EU’s Connecting Europe framework, will see TenneT and 50Hertz investing some €5 billion.

“The underground cables are the heart of SuedOstLink,” said TenneT Managing Director Tim Meyerjürgens. “We will use the innovative, plastic-insulated 525 kV underground cables for the first time worldwide, and will thus set new standards in technology and the reduction of environmental impact.” He noted that with the higher voltage level, the cables can transmit more power than a conventional 320 kV cable systems. “The route can be narrower and the necessary civil engineering work during the construction phase will decrease.”

Prysmian and NKT will each supply about 500 km of 525 kV cable, both using their own insulation designs, Prysmian will supply power cable with its P-laser technology while NKT will provide its XLPE technology. There is a total of five cable lots, three being provided by NKT.

Per a Prysmian press release, its contract from TenneT TSO GmbH, a Dutch-German grid operator, calls for the company to design, manufacture, supply, lay, joint, test and commission the 2GW underground cable system through the TenneT region of this first German Corridor. It will include Prysmian’s innovative P-Laser insulation technology that will help enable a transmittable power of more than 2GW on a single system for the first time. The contract is valued at approximately €500 million, depending on options.

“This prestigious award confirms our ambition to play a strategic role in the shift towards a low-carbon economy and to drive the energy transition forwards with smarter, more reliable and more sustainable solutions,” said Prysmian Group CEO Valerio Battista. “It gives us great satisfaction to be involved in the development of this vital infrastructure project and to set this milestone in the upgrading of the E.U. power transmission grid.”

Per an NKT press release, the company will deliver to 50Hertz Transmission GmbH its XLPE cable for the NKT expects to start production of the high-voltage DC power cables and accessories by the end of 2021, with installation in mid-2022 and final completion in 2025. NKT has a strong footprint in Germany, with facilities in Cologne, Nordenham and Berlin, and it has worked with 50Hertz on other projects, all of which made it an ideal choice.

“I am very pleased that we have booked our largest high-voltage DC order ever by getting a significant part of the SuedOstLink project,” said NKT President and CEO Alexander Kara. “This underlines our role as a key partner in the green transformation of Germany.”

Hellenic Cables announced that it will be a supplier for two projects, one for Denmark and the other for the U.S.

A press release said that Energinet, an electricity transmission company owned by the state of Denmark, has selected Hellenic Cables as one of the three cable manufacturers in the framework agreement for underground high voltage cable systems (145-170 kV). In addition to supplying H-V cables, the contract includes all the other elements needed for Denmark’s high-voltage onshore network. The eight-year contract (2020-2028) will require an estimated 4,200 km of cable during the cited timeframe. The cable orders will be distributed to the three manufacturers either by direct assignment or by competitions between participating manufacturers per the Framework Agreement. Hellenic Cables will make the 145-170 kV cables at its plant in Thebes.

Hellenic Cables also reported that, in the U.S., it has an agreement with Semco Maritime A/S to supply inter-array cables for the Mayflower Wind project, a joint venture of Shell New Energies US LLC and EDPR Offshore North America LLC. The offshore wind project is expected to start-up in 2025. The company will provide some 300 km of 66 kV, XLPE insulated submarine inter-array cables that will connecting the project’s wind turbines to its offshore substation. The cables will be manufactured at Hellenic Cables’ submarine cable production facility in Corinth, Greece. The order is expected to be completed by the end of 2023, with final installation expected around 2025.

CommScope reports that its fiber optic and copper cabling has been installed in Allegiant Stadium, the new 65,000-seat home of the Las Vegas Raiders.

Per the company, CommScope supplied227 miles of fiber and more than 1.5 million ft of copper cable that will enable the stadium to offer the “ultimate experience for Raiders fans,” with more than 2,400 screens, 1,700 Wi-Fi access points, and Allegiant Stadium’s Distributed Antenna System (DAS). The 100 G fiber backbone and 10 G Cat. 6A copper will deliver connectivity for critical stadium systems and applications such as security cameras, fire and safety, HVAC and lighting controls, wayfinding, ticketing, concessions, merchandise and parking.

“CommScope’s fiber optic cabling delivers the high-bandwidth connectivity needed for a truly compelling and interactive Las Vegas Raiders fan experience,” said a Raiders spokesperson. “This includes 4K-ready video replays, as well as live streams captured by multiple cameras. With CommScope fiber, Allegiant Stadium is well positioned for the future and ready to accommodate an ever-increasing number of standard client devices such as smartphones and tablets, along with evolving technology like AR glasses and virtual reality (VR) helmets.”

The CommScope fiber brings connectivity to all 10 levels of Allegiant Stadium, from the event level to the semi-translucent ETFE roof. Fans can use their Raiders mobile app throughout the facility to find parking spaces, locate concession stands, order food directly to their seats and share their experience on social sites via live streamed videos. CommScope’s copper cabling will connect in-house applications while its coaxial cables will connect the new DAS system. CommScope notes that it is one of the few companies that can provide a comprehensive portfolio of Wi-Fi, fiber and copper infrastructure.

Nexans reports that it will supply 80 km of 230 kV cable for a major offshore project on the eastern coast of the Arabian Gulf.

A press release said that Nexans will supply the composite submarine cables, which will be produced at its plant in Halden, Norway, while the fiber optic cable required for the project will be produced by the company’s specialized factory in Rognan. Cable installation is expected to begin in early 2022.
The order comes from McDermott, which in 2019 was chosen by Saudi Aramco—Saudi Arabia’s state-owned oil and gas company—for a major expansion of the Marjan oil and gas field. The site, located in the Arabian Gulf, off the eastern coast of Saudi Arabia, is undergoing expansion under the Marjan Crude Increment Programme announced in 2017. Discovered in 1967, the Marjan field is one of the oldest and biggest offshore oil and gas fields in the Arabian Gulf. It is currently undergoing expansion under the Marjan increment program (MIP) announced in 2017.

Saudi Aramco, the owner and operator of the field, announced the implementation of MIP to expand the crude production from the field to 800,000 barrels per day. It will help the oil major to maintain its overall maximum sustained crude production capacity at 12 million barrels a day. Front-end engineering and design (FEED) studies were started in 2017, while multiple developmental work packages for the expansion project were awarded in 2018 and 2019. The development program includes a new offshore gas-oil separation plant, and 24 offshore oil, gas, and water injection platforms.

Of note, Saudi Aramco awarded $18 billion worth of contracts for the engineering, procurement, and construction to boost production from both the Marjan and Berri offshore fields in July 2019.

ArcelorMittal announced that it has signed a deal that would see a significant injection of Italian state funding go into the Ilva steelworks it took over in 2018, and has since resulted in major losses.

Per multiple media reports, ArcelorMittal had threatened to return the long-troubled Ilva steel complex back to the Italian government. The world’s largest steel company noted that it lost 2 million euros a day in 2019, and that it had been negotiating with the government (Rome). The reported deal will see Rome taking an equity stake at least equal to Arcelor Mittal’s remaining liabilities against the original purchase price for Ilva. If the deal is completed, the original lease and purchase agreement under which ArcelorMittal took over Ilva, would close by May 2022.

Under the investment plan, Ilva will invest in lower-carbon steelmaking technologies, with a DRI (Direct Reduced Iron) facility to be built, funded and operated by outside investors, and an electric arc furnace to be built by ArcelorMittal. If the new investment plan cannot be completed by Nov. 30, ArcelorMittal said it could withdraw from the deal, subject to an agreed payment.

The future of the plant has been a challenge for successive Italian governments seeking to clean up the polluted site in the southern city of Taranto while safeguarding thousands of jobs. Last year, ArcelorMittal announced it was pulling out of the 2018 takeover agreement after parliament scrapped a guarantee of legal immunity from prosecution over environmental risks during a clean-up of the heavily polluting factory. What follows is a brief summation of past WJI stories about the Ilva complex.

The integrated steel plant, whose product range includes wire rod, has employed as many as 16,000 people, and thousands more as contractors. Capacity topped 11 million metric tons (mmt), with production at times representing as much as 40% of Italy’s steel production. The flip side was the cost for those achievements.
In 1991, Taranto was described as the most polluted city in Italy and Western Europe, and declared a high environmental risk area by the Ministry of Environment. The Ilva steel complex was deemed the largest offender. For years, there were complaints about pollution from the massive site, including “red dust” that coated the area. The European Pollutant Emission Register estimated that dioxin emissions from the Taranto Ilva operations were responsible for 30% of all such reported emissions in Italy in 2002. An even higher number was reported for 2004.

In recent years, the news has been crushing on multiple levels for Ilva. ArcelorMittal was criticized by trade unions that blamed the steel giant as well as by the ruling anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S)—a foe of big industry—for exiting a deal that would have safeguarded thousands of jobs. Ultimately, opinion has been split between those who see the business as a necessity due to its providing revenue to the area, and those who say that the environmental price has been far too high.

Encore Wire Corporation announced plans to further expand its campus in McKinney, Texas. Per comments in the company’s latest quarterly earnings report, the wire manufacturer’s expansion will be carried out in two phases, with the first phase beginning late in the first quarter of 2020.

Phase 1 will include a new 720,000-sq-ft facility on the north end of Encore’s existing campus, located at 1329 Millwood Road in McKinney. “The facility will act as a service center, modernizing our logistics to allow for increased throughput and provide the bandwidth necessary to capture incremental sales volumes,” the report stated.

Phase one will allow Encore to compete at a higher level in the marketplace while strengthening its industry-leading customer service and order fill rates, per the information. Construction on phase one is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2021. Following shortly after, phase two will focus on repurposing Encore’s existing distribution center by expanding its manufacturing capacity significantly and extending its market reach. The second phase is anticipated to be complete in 2022.

“This is an exciting time for Encore’s employees, customers and stakeholders,” Encore Chairman, President and CEO Daniel L. Jones said in the report. “We’ve been under construction since inception, and we continue to grow today. Our two-phase expansion plans will extend our reach and increase manufacturing capacity to meet the growing needs of our customers.”

Encore Wire’s legacy traces back to its launching in 1989, as a 68,000-sq-ft industrial warehouse building in McKinney, Texas. “With support and dedication from our employees, our customers and our community, we have grown to over 2 million square feet under roof and stretch across 425 acres. Today, Encore Wire is a leading manufacturer of copper and aluminum residential, commercial and industrial building wire.”

LS C&S has won a turnkey contract valued at approximately $85 million for a submarine cable project to connect Bahrain’s tourist islands. 

A press release said that Bahrain EWA (Electricity & Water Authority) plans to run 25 km of power cable between the main islands of Bahrain southeast to the Hawar Islands, which are known as a “go to” destination for divers. The Bahrain government wants to develop the area as a tourist complex, so it plans to access electricity from the main island rather than build a power plant on one of the smaller islands.

Saudi-based ALGIHAZ Contracting Co. is the primary project contractor. LS C&S will take charge of the submarine cable portion, with the project scheduled to be completed in September 2021. The project was supported by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), and there was fierce competition for the contract by major cable makers in Europe and Japan. LS C&S said in the release that its experience of global long-distance projects, such as Jeju-Jindo Island power grid (113 km), Qatar (100 km), Canada (35 km) and the U.S. (30 km), “greatly helped the company win the contract.”

“As the power grid is also closely related to national security and social unrest due to blackout, economic thinking alone will not determine suppliers,” LS C&S President and CEO Roe-hyun Myung said. “LS C&S is capitalizing on its products and construction competency to expand its advance into overseas and increasing domestic investments as well.”

The release also said that LS C&S dominated the Taiwanese submarine cable market, worth $420 million in 2019, and that the business has already begun to grow in earnest. “So, the company invested about $42 million in Donghae, Gangwon-do, and plans to complete a second plant this coming March.”

Messe Düsseldorf has rescheduled the world's largest wire and cable industry trade show, postponed because of the Coronavirus, to Dec. 7-11, 2020.

"It is very important for us to inform you of this new date as soon as possible in order to ensure planning security for the entire industry and its partners," said Wolfram N. Diener, Managing Director of Messe Düsseldorf GmbH. "Our customers and partners can trust us to act calmly and responsibly even in difficult situations."

Existing contracts with Messe Düsseldorf remain valid for the new date, visitor tickets already purchased remain valid as well. 2,600 exhibitors in 15 halls are expected to present their latest machinery and equipment for wire and tube production, processing and finishing, end products, products and services.

The Düsseldorf hotel industry is also sending out an important signal through its umbrella organisation DEHOGA (Trade Association for the Hospitality Industry): "We appeal to our members and the entire industry to be flexible when it comes to rebooking by exhibitors and visitors. The Düsseldorf trade fairs such as wire and Tube play an enormously important role for the city, the hotel industry and the catering trade. It would be counterproductive not to show goodwill in this situation,” as both DEHOGA-Representatives Giuseppe Saitta (Chairman Düsseldorf/District Group Rhein-Kreis Neuss) and Rolf D. Steinert (Düsseldorf/Rhein-Kreis Neuss Hotels and Tourism Group) emphasize.  

Current information can be found in the Internet portals at: www.wire.de and www.Tube.de.

 

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