Organetix OTC share scam on UK investors

With apologies to the automation readers, this is a different style of post!

Way back in 2004, for some reason, I bought a quantity of 3000 Regulation S shares in Organetix Inc, a US start-up company. Not a good idea, they failed pretty quickly. But in 2006 I was approached by Link Mergers and Acquisitions LLC, an apparently reputable US legal company, who wanted to acquire these shares for an asset stripper, who would then close it down. The offer was for around $9.90 per share, a great deal more than I paid, but the very friendly guy said that I actually owned 12000 shares according to their register of shareholders. I was sent a legal agreement to sign and send back urgently, agreeing to sell them 12,000 shares. Dangling a possible return value of around $110,000!

They could sort out the problems of the Regulation S stamp on the back for me, very simply, for an up front fee of only $9500, refundable on completion of the deal. If I had paid up front, the deal would have failed, because I did not own 12000 shares. So I would have forfeited the $9500. I did not go there.

Fast forward to 2012, Halloween, today: we now find another apparently reputable legal guy with a US accent, but he says he is from a Japanese based company, called Reynolds Merger Solutions – but the timing of his calls does not fit. He was into November. He has the same story, but now the purchase price on offer is $9.75 each, for the 12000 shares, which he knows from his share list I own, and the agreement includes a fee up front for them much reduced, now only $6120.

So at least there is a positive side, the up-front money that I would pay him and then lose has gone down compared to six years ago.

I guess this only works with UK investors into US companies, who can be taken in by such scams, but don’t go there, just write the investment off! You could frame the share certificate, it’s quite pretty, and when you look at it, think about the money you did not waste on the follow-up scam!

Yokogawa global terminal automation deal with Royal Vopak

Yokogawa has signed a global frame agreement with Royal Vopak for terminal automation: Vopak is based in the Netherlands and is the world’s largest independent tank storage service provider, specializing in the storage and handling of bulk liquid chemicals, gasses, and oil products. Yokogawa is pleased to become the first automation and safety system provider to sign such an agreement with Vopak.

This contract is for the provision of integrated automation and safety solutions, to control pipelines, loading/unloading facilities, and other utilities located at tank terminals. Based upon the Yokogawa Centum VP distributed control system (DCS) and ProSafe-RS safety instrumented system (SIS), these integrated solutions will enable safe and seamless communication between systems and integrated operator interfaces and alarms, which will lead to greater efficiency in project execution and allow a more unified project and maintenance approach.

Vopak selected Yokogawa as a global terminal automation partner because of the high reliability and global track record of its automation and safety solutions and its global maintenance and service network serving all major markets.

Vopak aims for optimizing the safety, reliability and efficiency of its logistics and storage processes through the introduction of automation technology. Vopak applies a consistent blueprint that will guide the automation of processes at all of its storage terminals.

Yokogawa Centum VP and ProSafe-RS systems will make it possible for Vopak to standardize the automation environment at its terminals, allowing the company to profit from economies of scale and shorter installation times. It is expected that a standardized approach to terminal automation projects will lead to further cost efficiency in projects and maintenance.

With the signing of this global terminal automation agreement, Yokogawa and Vopak will focus on realizing continuous improvements. Both companies will benefit from standardization of the control and safety systems for terminal automation through the reuse of know-how, expertise, and solutions, leading to greater consistency in project execution and guaranteed cost efficiency.

Hitachi buys Horizon nuclear project

The BBC.co.uk business news website this morning carries the following story, reporting that Hitachi is to buy Horizon Nuclear Power for £700m: Horizon intends to build reactors on existing sites at Wylfa, Anglesey, and Oldbury, near Bristol.

Hitachi is buying Horizon from Germany’s E.On and RWE, which are withdrawing from the UK nuclear market.

Prime Minister David Cameron said it was a major step for the UK. “This is a decades-long, multi-billion pound vote of confidence in the UK, that will contribute vital new infrastructure to power our economy. It will support up to 12,000 jobs during construction and thousands more permanent highly skilled roles once the new power plants are operational, as well as stimulating exciting new industrial investments in the UK’s nuclear supply chain. I warmly welcome Hitachi as a major new player in the UK energy sector,” he said.

UK engineering companies Babcock International and Rolls-Royce have signed preliminary contracts to join the Hitachi deal, which the Japanese company said should be completed by the end of November. Hitachi intends to build 6 gigawatts of nuclear capacity, with the first plant becoming operational in the first half of the next decade. Up to 6,000 jobs are expected to be created during construction at each site, thousands more in the supply chain, and a further 1,000 permanent jobs at both locations once operational.

The Horizon venture, based at Brockworth, Gloucester, currently employs about 90 people and was set up in 2009 as part of the drive to meet the UK’s carbon reduction goals and secure energy demand as old power plants are decommissioned. But RWE and E.On put the business up for sale in March after Germany’s move to abandon nuclear power in the wake of Japan’s Fukushima disaster.

Other nuclear power projects

A consortium made up of EDF and British Gas-owner Centrica has maintained its interest but the two companies have still to decide whether to build two reactors at Hinckley Point, Somerset.

Companies involved in the nuclear industry have expressed caution over entering the UK market. Because of the huge capital costs, stretched over many years, companies want some certainty over how much they might be paid for the electricity generated by their plants.

Last week, the chief executive of EDF, Vincent de Rivaz, told MPs that his company needed safeguards from the government that the finances of future nuclear deals would be “fair”.

Delays over decision-making and financing have led to doubts that new power capacity will come on stream before existing plants go offline. A so-called “energy gap” is likely to lead to rising prices and a greater dependency on gas imports.

Earlier this month, the energy regulator Ofgem warned that the UK risks running out of energy generating capacity in the winter of 2015-16. Its report predicted that the amount of spare capacity could fall from 14% now to only 4% in three years. However, the government said that its forthcoming Energy Bill would ensure that there was secure supply.

With so many uncertainties still to be resolved, investment in the UK nuclear sector was still a “leap of faith”, said George Borovas, head of nuclear projects at global law firm Pillsbury. So, he said, Hitachi’s decision was a “significant… vote of confidence in the UK nuclear programme”.

Advanced boiling water technology

Hitachi’s proposed facilities will use its advanced boiling water technology, which is already used in four reactors in Japan. Mr Borovas said this technology was a “proven success”, adding: “This should be very helpful with respect to its licensing in the UK and also opens up the possibility of significant export credit agency and commercial financing from Japan.”

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey said: “Hitachi bring with them decades of expertise, and are responsible for building some of the most advanced nuclear reactors on time and on budget, so I welcome their commitment to helping build a low-carbon, secure-energy future for the UK.”

Unions also welcomed Hitachi’s move, with Mike Clancy, general secretary designate of Prospect, saying: “The Horizon venture is an important milestone in securing future low-carbon energy generation capacity within the UK and its importance to local and national economies cannot be overstated.

“While Hitachi’s advanced boiling water reactor design has yet to undergo the UK’s generic design assessment approval process, it is a proven technology and therefore any construction in the UK will benefit from lessons learned from its construction in Japan.”

Yokogawa signs strategic agreement with Saudi Aramco

Yokogawa’s significantly reinforced presence in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is leading to close cooperation with Saudi Aramco.

On 2 October 2012, Yokogawa Saudi Arabia and Saudi Aramco signed a Corporate Procurement Agreement (CPA) that encompasses all the services Yokogawa provides to Saudi Aramco. This agreement is a testimony to Yokogawa’s strong presence in Saudi Arabia. The CPA with Saudi Aramco covers equipment supply, project management, engineering, spare parts, and maintenance services. It greatly simplifies the process by which Saudi Aramco purchases process automation equipment from Yokogawa. Yokogawa is the first automation vendor to sign such an agreement with Saudi Aramco.

Following through on its commitment to its customers in the Kingdom, Yokogawa has doubled the size of its facilities in the Dhahran Techno-Valley. In addition to engineering and project execution capabilities, the expanded facilities allow Yokogawa to manufacture specific components of its control systems and to strengthen its research and development activities.

Under the Saudi government’s Nitaqat Program, Yokogawa is in the top Platinum Saudization tier, and will firmly remain at this level in the future. The current workforce of 300 at Yokogawa Saudi Arabia includes a large female engineering team. This team supports not only Saudi projects but also projects in other GCC countries.

“With the true and sincere support of the Saudi government, customers, and academia, Yokogawa Saudi Arabia has successfully executed many process automation projects in the region”, said Shuzo Kaihori, President and CEO of Yokogawa Electric Corporation.

Through these projects, Yokogawa has developed the capabilities of many Saudi engineers and technicians by deploying and fully involving them in every facet of project execution, and will remain in the Kingdom with a workforce that has the knowledge and expertise to support its installed base throughout its lifecycle.

Since April 2007, Yokogawa has been providing a one-year Graduate Engineer Training Program and shorter internship programs that are specially tailored to the needs of the Saudi job market, targeting recent graduates and students of Saudi universities and colleges such as King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals (KFUPM), Jubail Industrial College (JIC), and Yanbu Industrial College (YIC). So far nearly 130 Saudi trainees have benefited from these programs, which have included visits to Yokogawa global engineering centers in Japan, Singapore, and the Netherlands.

Mr. Kaihori appreciates the contributions made by the Saudi engineers, saying, “I am not exaggerating when I say that Yokogawa Saudi Arabia’s operation owes much of its success to the central role played by these Saudi personnel.”

Metso DNA projects and retrofits for biomass power

Metso has signed an agreement to deliver state of the art automation for Séchilienne-Sidec, one of the market leaders in biomass and solar energy production in France and the French overseas territories. The new Metso DNA automation systems will be installed as retrofits in two of the Séchilienne-Sidec power plants in Reunion and additionally at a plant in Guadeloupe. The delivery for altogether six boiler units will take place between 2013 and 2015.

“We chose Metso’s automation systems because we believe that they provide the best technological and technical solution for a DCS retrofit to control industrial risks,” says Gilles Hassan, Project Manager at Séchilienne-Sidec. “Moreover, we have been satisfied with Metso’s solution that was commissioned in 2011 for our Caribbean energy plant which is located in Guadeloupe.”

Adding new technology to existing power plants is a demanding task that calls for expertise. Metso’s retrofit delivery scope consists of the Metso DNA automation systems with which the power plants will be controlled. A Metso Information Management System, a Metso DNA Control System Simulator, system installation and control system documentation updates are also included in the delivery. The simulator is a virtual learning environment that makes it possible for the operators to practice and learn the Metso DNA operator interface functions.

In Reunion, located in the Indian Ocean, Metso’s systems will be installed at the Compagnie Thermique Bois Rouge power plant with a capacity of 60 MW and the Compagnie Thermique du Gol plant with a capacity of 64 MW. Séchilienne-Sidec produces 57% of the island’s total electricity.

In Guadeloupe, Metso will retrofit the 64 MW Compagnie Thermique du Moulepower plant with new automation. Séchilienne-Sidec produces 31% of the electricity consumed on this island located in the Caribbean Sea. Both in Reunion and Guadeloupe, Séchilienne-Sidec’s power plants run on biomass, such as bagasse.

Séchilienne-Sidec has 20 years of experience in generating electricity from biomass resources. It is also a leading producer of energy from photovoltaic sources, always seeking to use locally available clean and renewable resources. The group’s installed thermal, wind power and solar capacity is 693 MW of which 624 MW is installed in the French overseas territories. The company is headquartered in Paris, France. In 2011, its net sales amounted to EUR 362 million. www.sechilienne-sidec.com

Biofuel fired boiler for Swedish plant

In another power industry project, Metso will supply Jönköping Energi’s combined heat and power (CHP) plant in Torsvik, Sweden, with a new biofuel-fired boiler. Jönköping Energi is expanding its CHP plant and the new unit will serve as a mid-load unit to meet the district heating and electric power needs of Jönköping municipality.

The expansion and modernization of Jönköping Energi’s plant is a significant investment for the municipality of Jönköping as the existing boilers and related systems are in need of replacement and the new systems will enable replacing use of refined bio-fuels with use of primary biomass fuels. The new boiler utilizing bubbling fluidized bed technology (BFB) will mainly be fueled with wood chips, and Metso’s solution will offer considerable cost-efficiency benefits for the overall district heating and electricity supply of Jönköping municipality.

“This is an important contract for the continuation of the expansion project as well as its largest. We look forward to co-operating with Metso on this important project,” says Håkan Stigmarker, Managing Director of Jönköping Energi.

The expanded CHP plant will be commissioned during fall 2014. The capacity of the new boiler will be 100 MW. The Torsvik plant will annually use roughly 550,000 cubic meters of forest fuels. It will produce approximately 340 GWh of district heat per year, corresponding to the heating needs of 17,000 single-family homes. The production of electricity will amount to 130 GWh/year, corresponding to the power consumption of roughly 25,000 households.

Jönköping Energi AB has 240 employees and is owned by the municipality of Jönköping. Jönköping Energi AB supplies electricity, heat, cooling, biogas and broadband to 55,000 customers in the Jönköping area, and has an annual net sales of about EUR 120 million.

Mike Wilson joins ABB Robotics in the UK

The ABB robotics business has signed up Mike Wilson as its new General Industry Sales Manager for the UK and Ireland. Mike is tasked with growing and managing sales of ABB’s robots and robot systems for non-automotive applications, such as mechanical engineering, electrical & electronics, aerospace, pharmaceutical and medical.

Mike is a well-known figure in the world of automation and brings over 30 years of experience in industrial automation, encompassing robots and other types of automated machinery, both as a user and supplier.

He continues to be involved with several of the leading UK bodies in industrial automation, with current roles including Chairman of the British Automation and Robotics Association (BARA), Vice-chairman of the Engineering and Machinery Alliance (EAMA) and a Director of the Processing and Packaging Machinery Association (PPMA).

Mike also served as the Chairman of the International Federation of Robotics (IFR) between 2000 and 2003, the only chairman to have ever been elected for two consecutive terms, and currently represents the UK on the IFR General Assembly.

Says Mike: “I firmly believe that robots and automation present the best way forward for the future prosperity and growth of UK manufacturing.

The more forward-thinking UK companies that have already applied automation solutions, including robot and vision technologies, are now reaping the benefits of improved productivity throughout their operations. For companies both large and small manufacturing a diverse range of products, these benefits have led to reduced costs, improved competitiveness and greater profitability, helping to drive business growth.

The latest set of figures from the International Federation of Robotics show that British companies are now waking up to the benefits or robotic automation. Last year, over 1,500 robots were installed in UK factories, with another 2,000 sold in the first half of this year alone.

However, with the majority of these sales going to the automotive sector, there is still much work to do in promoting the automation message to the rest of UK industry and demonstrating how the technology can help companies to catch up with their overseas competitors.

My aim is to make sure that the use of robots continues to grow in the UK and to achieve the same levels of explosive growth in other industrial sectors as has been seen in the automotive sector.”

Experion PKS for Kenya Geothermal projects

Honeywell Process Solutions has announced that its award-winning control system, the Experion Process Knowledge System (PKS), has been selected by Hyundai Engineering for Kenya Electricity Generating (KenGen) company’s two key geothermal plants in Olkaria, which will increase KenGen’s total electricity generating capacity by 25% and help meet the country’s increasing demand for energy.

Experion PKS will be used to integrate data from Olkaria’s different operating systems and share that information with the plant’s workforce, enabling them to make quicker, better- informed decisions. It will also be used to centralize control room strategies. The system will feature an integrated operator interface and incorporate physical security, emergency shutdown and fail-safe controls. Honeywell will also provide project management and engineering expertise, some of which will be on-site.

Experion PKS will be implemented at KenGen’s Olkaria I and  IV power plants – each with a capacity of 140 megawatts.  The project is the largest geothermal project in Kenya.

“We are providing KenGen with a state-of-the-art control system that improves availability, reduces downtime and protects asset investment,” said Darius Adamczyk, president-Honeywell Process Solutions. “Together with Hyundai Engineering, we are developing a solution that generates continuous and reliable power to meet Kenya’s needs.”

“From the early design stages, Honeywell has advised us on technical specifications and cost reduction methodologies,” said SH Keum, Hyundai Engineering’s chief engineer on the project. “We selected Honeywell for its robust technology and strong team of engineers who have been working with us to create and deliver a total solution that meets KenGen’s requirements. With the solution in place, the new power plants will be able to operate in a sustainable manner as they can increase production while consuming fewer raw materials, putting KenGen in a strong position for the future.”