Mekong Utility Watch

Electricity purchase agreement signed

Bangkok Post
May 27, 2000

Thailand yesterday signed an agreement to buy electricity from Laos’ Nam Theun 2 dam in a move that will put five billion baht into the coffers of the cash-strapped country. Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai and his Lao counterpart Sisavath Keobouphanh witnessed the signing that should provide a big boost to their ties, as it confirmed Thailand’s commitment to Laos, and would help bolster investor confidence in Laos.

Mr Chuan assured Mr Sisavath that Thai demand for Lao electricity would rise as foreign investment in Thailand was growing, with more than 50 new projects registered with the Board of Investment over the past four months.

Laos also suffered from the fallout of the economic crisis of 1997 that had squeezed Thai energy demands.

Mr Chuan had initiated the move to buy power supplies from Laos during his first government eight years ago. His proposal then to buy 1,500 megawatts was doubled recently.

The US$1.2-billion project, jointly-funded by Transfield of Australia, Italian-Thai Development, Phatra Thanakit, Jasmine International and Electricite de France, has the capacity to produce 681 megawatts.

Mr Chuan also met President Khamtay Siphandone, who called for Thai co-operation to root out past problems.

Government spokesman Akapol Sorasuchart said the Lao president stressed that the problem of “ill-intentioned” people living in Thailand would have to be resolved together. Laos regards the Hmong as anti-communist activists.

Mr Khamtay said the two countries could talk in depth because they enjoyed a special relationship between their governments and people.

Mr Chuan assured him Thailand would not allow any “ill-intentioned people” to ruin their neighbourly relations.

Mr Sisavath urged co-operation in the prevention and suppression of narcotic drugs and stressed that this should not be limited to Thailand and Laos but to all affected countries.

Mr Chuan said he would ask police and military officials to discuss ways of firming up efforts to fight the drug menace for mutual benefits.

Categories: Mekong Utility Watch

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