Saturday, March 3, 2012

Coal-fired power plant plan may be reborn

The head of PTT, Thailand’s state-owned energy company, said on Thursday that Burma is open to using a coal-fired power plant for a planned $8.6 billion industrial zone in the Dawei project if the electricity is used for domestic needs only.

Pailin Chuchottaworn, chief executive officer of PTT, told Bloomberg News on Thursday that the Burmese government is “against the idea of exporting coal-based power to Thailand, but they will allow coal-based power for internal use.”

PTT, whose exploration arm is developing nine energy blocks in Burma, stands ready to develop Burma’s oil and gas industry, he told the business news agency.

Pailin said his company had planned to invest in a coal-fired power plant in Dawei that would export power to Thailand before Burmese officials cancelled the project in January.

Burma has suspended two large-scale power-plant projects since taking office just under one year ago. In September, it suspended the Myitsone Dam project, a China-backed $3.6 billion hydropower dam designed to ship electricity to China, and the coal-fired power plant in the Dawei deep-sea port project.

While the status of the Dawei coal-fired power plant project remains unclear, the Dawei deep-sea port and industrial zone is moving forward, according to officials.

Mizzima reported in January that the Italian-Thai Development Plc. (ITD), the developer of the Dawei deep-sea port project on the southern coast of Burma, is in the process of securing US$ 8.5 billion to move ahead on the infrastructure phase of the massive mega-billion project.

Thailand's largest construction company by market value, ITD will need the backing of Thailand, Burma and a blend of international partners, said Somchet Thinaphong, managing director of Dawei Development Co (DDC).

ITD has been granted a 75-year concession for the energy project that will cover 250 square kilometers. Located on the Andaman shoreline, Dawei is about 350 kilometers west of Bangkok. The project will be a conduit to supply oil and other goods to Southeast Asia, bypassing the Strait of Malacca and cutting costs.

The Dawei Special Economic Zone includes an integrated steel mill, power plants, a petrochemical complex and a fertilizer plant.