Industry Briefs May 2019

Ron Natole hangs up his cleats

Ron Natole, a positive force in the electric power industry for more than 50 years, called to say he and wife Bonnie had closed down Natole Turbine Enterprises (NTE); it was time to take a break. 

Ron will be remembered as the consummate professional, always willing to share his deep knowledge of rotating equipment and to dedicate the personal time necessary to help advance the goals of the industry’s professional organizations. Add in Natole’s genuine good nature, storytelling skills, and love of fine red wine and you have what the editors consider the perfect colleague.

For the last 25 years, Ron provided consulting, inspection, and repair-vendor verification services primarily to users. His knowledge of gas-turbine parts interchangeability—in particular among the various versions of GE frames 3, 5, 6, and 7; Westinghouse 191, 251, and 501 engines; ABB GT 8s and 11s; Siemens V64, V84, and V94 machines—has been of great help to many owner/operators.

Ron’s resume prior to establishing NTE included the following highlights:      

    • Manager of turbine component repair and overhaul activities at Hickham Industries.

    • Manager of gas-turbine component repair at Chromalloy.

    • Various positions at GE over a 16-year period—including Large Steam Turbine Manufacturing (Schenectady), first as an apprentice machinist then as a rotor test technician; and Apparatus Service (Buffalo and Baltimore), sales and shop management.

The foundation for Natole’s career development was GE’s 7500-hr (you read that correctly, 7500 hours) machinist and technician program in Schenectady and his BS degree from SUNY Albany. He completed various other training courses over the years on gas-turbine design, NDT, vibration analysis, metallurgy of superalloys, etc.

Ron was active in both ASME and the International Gas Turbine Institute (IGTI) for decades, serving a term as chairman of the IGTI Board of Directors plus terms as the chair of the Electric Power and Manufacturing Materials and Metallurgy Committees.

A frequent speaker at industry meetings, Natole has given over two-score invited presentations and conducted several workshops and tutorials on various subjects, including: component refurbishment, turbine operation and maintenance, engine uprates, long-term service agreements, parts interchangeability, etc.

Siemens 1Q/2019 highlights

Arja Talakar was named CEO of Siemens Oil & Gas as 1Q/2019 ended. He had been responsible for Siemens Saudi Arabia and has close ties to leading energy companies worldwide. Talakar began his career with Siemens in 1996 as a rotating-equipment and automation systems engineer.

Braskem, Latin America’s largest petrochemical company, selects Siemens to modernize a cogen plant at its Petrochemical Complex in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and then operate that facility for 15 years. Project includes the addition of two SGT-600 gas turbines.

Gas Natural Acu (GNA) selects Siemens for the turnkey construction of a new 3 × 1 H-class combined cycle for the integrated LNG-to-power GNA-1 project in the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The OEM owns one-third of the project company and is providing an equity investment in the 1300-MW plant, already under construction.

Emirates Global Aluminum, said to be the world’s largest producer of so-called “premium aluminum,” signs the first power services agreement for an H-class gas turbine in the UAE. The 20-yr agreement includes maintenance, repairs, and onsite personnel support.

Qatar’s Umm Al Houl, the country’s second largest powerplant is “inaugurated.” The facility consists of two 3 × 1 power blocks (SGT5-4000F gas turbines) capable of producing 2500 MW and 163-million gal/day of drinking water. OEM support is underpinned by what is termed a 25-yr long-term service “partnership.”

Siemens H-class gas turbines pass 1-million fired hours of commercial operation midway through 1Q/2019. The company reported 70 engines in operation at that time and almost a hundred machines sold.

The maintenance service agreement with Abu Dhabi’s 1500-MW Shuweihat S2 power and water plant is extended by 18 years.

Cooperative Energy’s coal-fired Morrow Generating Station will be repowered with the OEM’s SGT6-9000HL gas turbine. A 20-yr service agreement was part of the deal.

Oman’s Duqm Integrated Power & Water Project orders five SGT-800 gas turbines and five SST-300 steam turbines to produce 326 MW and 9.5-million gal/day of desalinated water for refining and petrochemical operations. Service contract for the project spans 25 years.

An EPC firm orders two SGT-300 gas turbines for a gas-processing facility in Alberta, Canada—the first application of an SGT-300 in that country. The mechanical drives will be non-enclosed, allowing the plant-wide fire detection and suppression system to ensure worker safety throughout the facility.

Qatar Power Co extends the service agreement for its Ras Laffan B combined-cycle plant for an additional 15 years. Three SGT5-4000F gas turbines and two SST5-6000 steamers, and their associated generators, are included in the LTSA.

MHPS 1Q/2019 highlights

As the first quarter of 2019 ended, MHPS’s J fleet passed 750,000 hours of commercial operation. This fleet now includes 39 turbines in commercial operation (28 with more than 8000 hours of service); fleet leader has amassed more than 45,000 hours. The first J engine began commercial operation in 2011; fleet reliability since that time is 99.3%.

Falcon Group signs a multi-year service agreement for its Altamira II and Rio Bravo II, III, and IV 501F-powered plants, all located in Mexico. As part of the agreement MHPS will provide F4 technology and service upgrades to improve reliability and availability while extending inspection intervals to 32.000 hours.

McCoy Reports, an industry publication, says MHPS was the 2018 global leader in market share for gas turbines rated 100 MW and above, at 49%. The OEM attributed the success of its J fleet to the 64+% efficiency and 99.5% reliability recorded by those engines.

Chickahominy Power LLC orders three 1 × 1 combined cycles powered by J engines to produce in excess of 1600 MW. The Virginia plant is slated for completion in 2022.

Entergy Texas Inc selects air-cooled MHPS G-series gas turbines to power its Montgomery County Power Station. COD is expected in 2021.

Danskammer Energy LLC orders an air-cooled J-class gas turbine to repower its Newburg (NY) steam plant, built in the 1950s and 1960s.


501F Users Group launches a new website at Check it out! Have questions? Contact the developer, Chad Boschert, founder and CEO of Apt Crowd LLC, at

Russ Snyder, chairman and president of the 501F Users Group, was promoted (day job) to VP of generation operations for Cleco Power LLC; he had been GM of the company’s Southern Gas Fleet.

Robert Threlkeld, plant manager of Tenaska Inc’s F-class 3 × 1 Central Alabama and Lindsay Hill Generating Stations, was appointed by the governor of Alabama to the state’s STEM Council. The retired naval officer comes from a family of educators, with his wife, mother, grandmother, mother-in-law, and sister active or retired teachers. Threlkeld continues as a member of CCJ’s editorial advisory board.

Dr Robert Mayfield and his staff at Tenaska Westmoreland Generating Station in western Pennsylvania bring the nominal 900-MW (unfired) 2 × 1 combined cycle into commercial operation a couple of days before Christmas 2018. Gas turbines are Mitsubishi J-class, the fifth and six units in this model series to operate in the US.

Mike Hoogsteden, director of services for Advanced Turbine Support LLC, will be bicycling across the country in September to raise awareness and funding for the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation—the largest investor worldwide in research aimed at curing IBD (inflammatory bowel diseases). You can support Mike on his 42-day journey by visiting

TICA, The Turbine Inlet Cooling Assn, announces officers and directors for 2019-2020. They are:

Chairman, Rodney Kohler, Victory Turbine
Vice Chairman, Don Shepherd, Caldwell Energy
President, Andrew Sickler, Baltimore Aircoil Co
VP, Rob Pugh, Danfoss
Secretary, Guy Frankenfield, DN Tanks
Treasurer, Patricia Graef, Patricia Graef Consulting Inc
Director, Justin Rose, Munters

TICA is offering a complimentary one-year membership to gas-turbine users (offer good through June 30, 2019), which saves new members up to $1000. Executive Director Dharam (Don) Punwani encourages a visit to the group’s website at You’ll gain access to the online users forum, TIC performance calculator, TIC installation database, access to experts for all TIC technologies, and other benefits.

Contact Punwani at (630-357-3960) with any questions.

Ring eight bells for Chris McCallum who did “the right thing” by trying to break up a fight outside the American Legion hall in Quincy (Mass) back in January but was killed in the attempt. The Massachusetts Maritime Academy grad (BS Engineering in 1996 and MS Facilities Management in 2006) was well respected in the power industry. His resume includes stops at Northeast Utilities as a nuclear systems operator, International Power as operations manager and later asset manager, Next Era Energy Resources as operations manager, and Veolia Energy North America as project manager for green capital projects. McCallum was a principal consultant for Lummus Consultants International at the time of his death.

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