Siemens to build two combined-cycle power stations in Oman

The new power stations will have a generating capacity of 750MW.

Siemens Energy has won an order from a group led by French utility GDF Suez to build two combined-cycle power plants in Oman.

The company, together with its South Korean partner GS E&C, will build the Barka III and Sohar II power stations each with a generating capacity of 750MW.

Barka III will be erected in the immediate vicinity of the coastal city of Barka in northern Oman, while Sohar II will be built in the Sohar industrial park approximately 200km west of Muscat.

In addition to turnkey construction, Siemens will supply for each of these plants the main components comprising two SGT5-4000F gas turbines, one SST5-5000 steam turbine, three SGen5-2000H generators, electrical equipment, and SPPA-T3000 instrumentation and control system.

The consortium partner GS E&C will supply the heat-recovery steam generators and will also be responsible for items including the civil works, transformers and ancillary systems as well as equipment installation.

The projects were awarded by Oman Power and Water Purchasing to the lead developer GDF Suez and its co-developers Multitech, Sojitz Corporation, Shikoku Electric Power and Public Authority for Social Insurance.

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Is anyone prepared to solve the NHS funding crisis?

As long as the political taboo on raising taxes endures, the service will be in financial peril. 

It has long been clear that the NHS is in financial ill-health. But today's figures, conveniently delayed until after the Conservative conference, are still stunningly bad. The service ran a deficit of £930m between April and June (greater than the £820m recorded for the whole of the 2014/15 financial year) and is on course for a shortfall of at least £2bn this year - its worst position for a generation. 

Though often described as having been shielded from austerity, owing to its ring-fenced budget, the NHS is enduring the toughest spending settlement in its history. Since 1950, health spending has grown at an average annual rate of 4 per cent, but over the last parliament it rose by just 0.5 per cent. An ageing population, rising treatment costs and the social care crisis all mean that the NHS has to run merely to stand still. The Tories have pledged to provide £10bn more for the service but this still leaves £20bn of efficiency savings required. 

Speculation is now turning to whether George Osborne will provide an emergency injection of funds in the Autumn Statement on 25 November. But the long-term question is whether anyone is prepared to offer a sustainable solution to the crisis. Health experts argue that only a rise in general taxation (income tax, VAT, national insurance), patient charges or a hypothecated "health tax" will secure the future of a universal, high-quality service. But the political taboo against increasing taxes on all but the richest means no politician has ventured into this territory. Shadow health secretary Heidi Alexander has today called for the government to "find money urgently to get through the coming winter months". But the bigger question is whether, under Jeremy Corbyn, Labour is prepared to go beyond sticking-plaster solutions. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.