Fluor books huge loses on three failed gas-fired plants, plus two failed nukes

It’s not just GE and Siemens that are “experiencing disruption of unprecedented scope and speed,” power plant builder Fluor finds “The challenges we have experienced over the last two years on gas-fired power projects are inconsistent with the results we have historically achieved.” Maybe you should have bet on sun and wind power, Fluor, Siemens, and GE, instead of fracked methane and nukes.

Fluor and Diablo Canyon nuclear project in California
Photo: Fluor web page on Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant

Copenhaver Construction, Inc., 8 August 2017,

Problems on three gas-fired power plant projects with fixed-price contracts forced Dallas-based Fluor Corp. to book a $124-million charge in 2017’s second quarter.

CEO David. T. Seaton says some members of the power team “have exited” and that the trouble projects were all acquired by the same “pursuit team.” He said the team had made estimating mistakes and errors involving craft labor productivity. Equipment problems also complicated the work.

The company appointed Simon Nottingham, who had previously worked in its oil and gas unit, to head all power construction.

The charge forced Fluor to lower its earnings estimate for for the year, disappointing one analyst at an Aug. 4th telephone briefing by the company where the matter was discussed. Fluor “blew up again,” wrote Jaime Cook of Credit Suisse after the telephone briefing.

Note that “again” from Credit Suisse.

Funny how Fluor doesn’t mention any previous incidents. Industrial Info Resources, 7 August 2017, Fluor Takes Profit Hit on Natural Gas-fired Power Stations,

“The challenges we have experienced over the last two years on gas-fired power projects are inconsistent with the results we have historically achieved,” said Fluor Chief Executive Officer David Seaton in a press release.”

That’s what happens when you bet on the wrong horse, fracked methane instead of sun and wind power:

‘The shifting dynamics are roiling the huge conglomerates that serve the industry. Siemens, G.E.’s main rival, said last month that it was cutting 6,900 jobs worldwide in units focused on power plant technology, generators and large electrical motors. In making the announcement, Siemens said that “the power generation industry is experiencing disruption of unprecedented scope and speed.”’

That’s right, fossil fuels and nuclear are going down under the exponential rise of wind and sun power.

Looks like in addition to those three gas-fired plants (whichever they were), Fluor also got booted out of Georgia Power’s Plant Vogtle nuke boondoggle. Fluor was only brought into Vogtle about a year or two before.

Fluor was also in the cancelled South Carolina Plant V.C. Summer nuclear boondoggle. Fluor was brought into that one about two years ago, about the same time as it got into Plant Vogtle.

So that’s at least two rounds of power plant builders failing to build the only two active new nuclear projects in the U.S.

Oh, my. Fluor is also in Diablo Canyon (pictured), the only remaining nuke in California. Stay tuned for that one going under.

Fluor does also do solar power plants. So maybe Fluor can pivot to the sun. Or go bankrupt.

FYI, Georgia Power’s parent The Southern Company is a minority investor in the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, which is behind schedule: John Murawski, News & Observer, 7 December 2017, Atlantic Coast Pipeline blows another deadline as NC officials seek more info.

Meanwhile, the Sabal Trail fracked methane pipeliine was turned off for three weeks and is still low gas, less than 10% stated capacity, with a major historical precedent court case still unresolved.

Maybe investors should get out of natural gas and nuclear power while they can, before all those investments become stranded.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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