Sunday, October 28, 2007

Thailand's power company to start four projects in Laos

Egat ready to sign purchase deals for four projects in Laos

YUTHANA PRAIWAN

The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) expects to sign power purchasing agreements (PPA) with hydroelectric plant operators in Laos by the end of the year, says governor Kraisi Karnasuta.

The four projects with a combined capacity of 1,460 megawatts (MW) are all scheduled to start commercial operations between 2012 and 2014.

Theun Hinboun Power Co, a Laotian government-run company, yesterday signed a tariff agreement with Egat, which will lead shortly to the first PPA for total capacity of 220 MW. Operations will begin in 2012.

Other power generating projects, including Nam Ngum 3, will be operated by The Great Mekong Subregion Co and Marubeni Corporation of Japan. The 440 MW project will start up in 2013.

Gamuda of Malaysia and Egco Group Plc have joined together to operate Nam Theun 1, which has a capacity of 523 MW and will start operations by 2013.

The Nam Ngiep project, operated by Egat in conjunction with Kansai Electric of Japan, will start producing 277 MW of electricity by 2014.

However, the 1,800-MW Hongsa Lignite power plant, operated by the SET-listed coal miner Banpu Plc, is expected to sign a PPA agreement after the December election. This is mainly because Banpu has yet to wrap up a deal with its prospective strategic partners.

Thailand has a concrete agreement to purchase a total of 5,000 MW of electricity from the Laotian government. The National Legislative Assembly is expected to approve the purchase of an additional 2,000 MW from Laos.

The 210-MW Theun Hinboun and 150-MW Houay Ho hydropower plants have provided power to Thailand since 1998.

Four of Egat's natural gas-fuelled electricity plants now under construction are scheduled to start production between 2008 and 2010 with a total capacity of 2,800 MW.

Although the projects have been delayed due to constraints on equipment supplies, the contractors and suppliers have agreed to accelerate construction to meet deadlines.

Siemens of Germany and Marubeni of Japan, which are building the Chana electricity plant in Songkhla, have an agreement with Egat to finish the project by the first quarter of 2008, but it will be delayed to the second quarter.

Mitsubishi of Japan and Sino Thai Engineering and Construction Plc, the contractors of the Southern Bangkok Power Plant, said they would finish construction six months ahead of the October 2008 deadline.

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