Thai, Korean firms advance Laos’ 390-MW Xe Pian Xe Namnoy

Thailand and South Korea companies have signed a project development agreement with the Laotian government advancing the 390-MW Xe Pian Xe Namnoy hydroelectric project in the Xe Kong River Valley of Laos.

The agreement was signed November 14 by Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding Public Co. Ltd. of Thailand, and Korean companies SK Engineering &Construction Co. Ltd. and Korean Western Power Co. Ltd. The pact follows a preliminary agreement signed in 2007 for Xe Pian Xe Namnoy (also spelled Xae Pien-Xae Nam Noi and other variations). (HNN 8/9/07)

Under the prior agreement, the companies completed feasibility studies, construction preparation, an environmental impact assessment, and social impact study.

Ratchaburi said next steps include drafting a concession agreement with the government, a power purchase agreement with Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand and Electricite du Laos, a shareholder agreement, and loan negotiation.

Xe Pian Xe Namnoy is expected to cost US$830 million. Ratchaburi said it holds a 25 percent stake in the project, while SK holds 26 percent, Korea Western holds 25 percent, and the Laos government holds 24 percent.

The developer group is to build and operate a hydro plant for 30 years and then transfer the operation to the Laotian government. SK said the consortium would seek investors to fund the project, with construction projected to begin in 2010.

The project is located on the Bolaven Plateau of southern Laos. It is to store water from three catchments in a large regulation basin. From there the water is to be conveyed by a 13.5-kilometer headrace tunnel to a pressure conduit, dropping about 700 meters to the powerhouse at the bottom of the Xe Kong Valley.

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