Brunei's Power Schemes (History 1966)

J E B White, State Electrical Engineer, and members of his staff inspect some of the new equipment on arrival at Gadong

Power scheme progress

APRIL 2, 1966 – Hundreds of tons of machinery has arrived in Brunei for the state’s $16 million electrification scheme, which is now well under way. It has come from Britain, Belgium, Italy and the United States, with insulators from Japan.

J E B White, State Electrical Engineer, told the Bulletin this week that everything is going according to plan. The scheme is expected to be completed towards the end of this year. It will be commissioned in stages.

Power will be generated at the new gas turbine station, run on natural gas from the oilfield, at Seria. It will be sufficient to meet the whole of the state’s immediate needs.

The station is designed so that extensions can easily be added as load increases.

The power station at Gadong, three miles from Brunei Town, has 3MW Ruston diesel generators.

This will act as a standby in the event of a breakdown at the Seria gas turbine station or if trouble develop on the 60-mile 66KV overhead transmission line to Brunei Town.

White said that, in case of the transmission line being damaged for a long period, both stations could be run with the damaged part of the overhead line isolated.

The generating sets, each weighing about 40 tons and the huge transformers were too heavy to put ashore at Brunei. The Electrical Department solved the problem by buying a 60-tonne low loader. This was driven aboard a Shell lighter at Kuala Belait and taken to Labuan.

There, the ship’s derrick lifted the machinery direct on to the low loader, which was still in the lighter. The lighter then returned to Belait, where it ran off the Shell ramp at high tide.

One piece of equipment, for the Seria power station, was carried as cargo from Labuan and taken to the site by a Shell road transporter.

Shell loaned the Electrical Department a large mobile crane for unloading. The low loader was driven to the required position. The crane lifted the equipment and the vehicle was driven away. The machinery was then put down exactly where it was needed.

White said difficulties envisaged in the early stages of the scheme had now been overcome. The 66KV switchgear erection is being completed by local workers under the supervision of A Philips, an engineer from South Wales Switchgear.

The overhead transmission is being supervised and erected by an Italian firm, Societa Anomina Electrificazione of Milan. They use Pakistani labour, who did similar work in Pakistan with the same firm.

Local contractors are being used for excavation work, for erecting tower foundations and assisting in the concrete work.

Erection of the 11KV switchgear is being completed by the Electrical Department staff at Gadong Power Station.

The gas turbine at Seria is being erected by International General Electric with the help of local staff. The 15MVA, 5MVA and the 2MVA transformers are being erected by the Electrical Department Staff.

The scheme when completed will be one of the biggest in the Borneo territories. It will be the only one using gas for power and the 64KV grid transmission line. – Ignatius Stephen


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