State of Sarawak purchases 2,400-MW Bakun hydropower project on island of Borneo

State government officials of Sarawak, one of two Malaysian states on the island of Borneo, announced this week that it has reached an agreement with the federal government to purchase the 2,400-MW Bakun hydropower project.

Reports estimate the purchase price is between US$1.3 billion and US$1.8 billion.

Sarawak Chief Minister, Abang Johari Tun Openg, announced on March 7 that Sarawak’s state-owned electricity utility, Sarawak Energy Bhd (SEB), purchased the entire equity shares of Sarawak Hidro Sdn Bhd (SBSB), owner/operator of the Bakun hydropower facility. Malaysia’s Finance Ministry and Federal Land Commission owned 100% of SBSB.

SEB is a vertically integrated electricity utility and energy development company which also operates two other projects in Sarawak: 944-MW Murum and 100-MW Batang Ai.

In September, HydroWorld.com reported SEB received formal approval from the Sarawak government to develop the 1,285-MW Baleh hydroelectric plant.

Commissioned in 2011, the Bakun project is Malaysia’s largest hydropower plant developed at an estimated cost of about US$1.6 billion. It is located on the Balui River in the Upper Rajang Basin, 37 km upstream from the town of Belaga.

Tun Openg said formalization of the acquisition is expected in May.

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Gregory B. Poindexter formerly was an associate editor for HydroWorld.com.

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