15 July 2015 | The Nation | Watcharapong Thongrung
Thailand, China and Myanmar are expected to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the development of the 7,000-megawatt Mong Ton hydropower-plant project on the upper Salween River this year, after Myanmar's government cancelled its Tasang hydropower project.
Speaking yesterday on behalf of the three countries, Thai Energy Minister Narongchai Akrasanee said Electricity Generation Authority of Thailand International (EGATi) would hold a 40-per-cent stake in the Mong Ton project, China's giant state enterprise Three Gorges Corp would take a similar stake, and the Myanmar government would hold the remaining 20 per cent.
The Mong Ton hydropower project is expected to take five years to construct. In the initial stage, about 700MW of power generation is expected and will be delivered to Myanmar, which still has a shortage of power supply.
The remaining 6,300MW will later be sold back to Thailand under the Kingdom's plan to purchase power from neighbouring countries, said the minister.
On June 15, Deputy Prime Minister MR Pridiyathorn Devakula, Narongchai and top officials from the Energy Ministry visited Myanmar to sign two MoUs on energy with the country's electric power minister and energy minister, focusing on exchanges of energy-policy ideas and information for the countries' mutual benefit.
The first of the MoUs signed that day, between the ministries of energy, is focused on issues such as upstream and downstream petroleum cooperation.
Projects include the development of local and cross-border gas pipelines, exploration and production, capability development of liquefied-natural-gas imports and improvement of oil refineries.
The second MoU, between Thailand's Energy Ministry and Myanmar's Electric Power Ministry, emphasises cooperation in the development of power infrastructure, expansion of power-generation cooperation, and the promotion of trade and power connectivity between the two countries.
An anonymous source from the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) said that aside from the hydropower project on the Salween, Myanmar's 1,360MW Hatgyi Dam hydropower project is expected to see an MoU signed by Thailand, Myanmar and China by the end of this year.
A 36.5-per-cent stake in the Bt81-billion project will be held by EGATi, with 56.5 per cent being shared by China and Myanmar.
Egat also plans to proceed with its US$700-million (Bt23.82 billion) 450MW Mong Kok coal-fired power plant in Myanmar, said the source.
The project will be invested in by Italian-Thai Power, PTT Group and EGATi, with the latter holding a 30-per-cent stake.
Meanwhile, the state enterprise's 600MW coal-fired power plant in Kengtung is expected to require an investment of about $1-billion.
Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding, a subsidiary of Egat, holds a 55-per-cent stake in the project, for which an MoU has been signed.
The Kengtung project is awaiting signature of a memorandum of agreement by year-end before starting construction, said the source.
Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding also holds a 45-per-cent stake in a planned 2,460MW coal-fired power plant in Myeik, in southern Myanmar.
The project, expected to be worth $4 billion-$5-billion, is at the feasibility-study stage.