Forge receivers in dispute over turbines

The operation of a new Pilbara power station project is facing further delays because of a conflict between the receiver for collapsed contractor Forge Group and a US supplier of generators.

Horizon Power says it has been unable to begin generation at the South Hedland power station while ownership of the mobile gas turbines installed on the site is in dispute.

Forge receiver KordaMentha has claimed on behalf of secured creditors the four gas turbines leased by APR Energy. The claim is based on the US company not registering them under Australian personal property laws.

The dispute is likely to lead to a protracted court case.

The generators would have a combined value in the tens of millions of dollars.

Horizon is taking legal action of its own to have the generators removed from the site. The State-owned utility has requested both the warring parties take them away.

The utility said regardless of the dispute's outcome, generators would be installed at the project by October in time for heavier summer demand.

"Reliability of power supplies in the Pilbara are not at risk as a result of the issue," Horizon said.

Acting managing director Frank Tudor told a parliamentary estimates panel last week that in light of the delay, it was fortunate that electricity demand in the Pilbara had softened.

"That allowed us some leeway in how we dealt with the issue," Mr Tudor said.

Forge was in the final stages of building the 67 megawatt station under a $138 million contract when it collapsed in February.

The design, build and operate deal with Horizon was terminated, leaving the work to be completed by subcontractors. The facility had been scheduled to start generating power last month.

Florida-based APR bought the GE power rental business last year. It supplied the four General Electric dual fuel gas turbines.

The station was built to provide power to the North-West Interconnected System during period of peak energy consumption.

It was planned to provide bridging capacity before a 150 MW station being built by Canada's TransAlta begins delivering power in 2017.

The West Australian

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