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Egat seals Laos deals

Apr 10, 2008 - Yuthana Praiwan - Bangkok Post - McClatchy-Tribune Regional News

Thailand - The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) has signed a memorandum of understanding with the developers of the Hongsa Lignite power plant in Laos to buy 1,470 megawatts of electricity, according to Egat governor Sombat Santijaree.

The developers include SET-listed Banpu Plc and Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding Plc, holding 40 percent each, and the Laotian government with the remaining 20 percent.

The group would start the $2.6-billion capital investment by the end of this year with expected power output of 490 MW to be available in 2013. An additional 980 MW would come online in 2014. The remaining capacity of 183 MW would be sold to Laotian utilities.

The developers also have a $2.8-billion lignite mine nearby in which Banpu and Ratchaburi each hold 37.5 percent and the Laotian government 25 percent. The Thai partners are talking with a Chinese utility to hold some ownership and a deal is expected by June. The power-purchase agreement between Egat and the developers will be signed by July.

The agreement between Thailand and Laos states that Laos would sell 7,000 MW to Thailand within the next 10 years. Once the Hongsa plant is in operation, Laos would sell 5,800 MW to Thailand, up from 313 MW currently from Theun Hinboun and Huay Ho since 1998 and 1999 respectively.

Laotian power exports to Thailand will increase significantly between 2009 and 2014 from seven hydropower plants.