Wednesday, March 28, 2012

UPDATE 1-Thai Ratchaburi to decide on Dawei plant in 2-3 months

(Reuters) - Thailand's Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding Pcl has not abandoned plans to build a power plant in Dawei in Myanmar and will decide on the fuel type in two or three months, a senior executive said on Wednesday.

"We are still going ahead with the Dawei project," Chief Operating Officer Peerawat Pumthong told reporters. "Right now, we are studying which type of investment and fuel would be used for building a power plant there."

Ratchaburi is the largest private power producer in Thailand.

The government in neighbouring Myanmar abruptly halted construction of a 4,000 megawatt coal-fired power plant at the Dawei Special Industrial Zone in January after an outcry over the environmental impact. A smaller 400 MW clean-coal plant remains on the drawing board.

"We're thinking again about the 400 MW one," Peerawat said.

Ratchaburi signed an agreement on Nov. 16 with Thailand's largest building contractor, Italian-Thai Development Pcl , to carry out a feasibility study "as a preliminary step" in the development of the project.

But doubts have grown about the plans by Italian-Thai to transform 250 sq km (97 sq miles) of scrubland in southern Myanmar into Southeast Asia's largest industrial complex.

Italian-Thai has yet to secure $8.5 billion to finance construction of its first phase, including roads, a telecoms network, utilities and a port.

Ratchaburi is 45 percent owned by state-run Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT), the country's sole power buyer.

Separately, Peerawat said the company was studying a plan to build a power plant in Cambodia, expecting to decide on this no later than the third quarter of 2012.