Myanmar, China ink hydropower deal

Yangon, January 1:

China has agreed to help build a new hydro-electric dam on the Shweli River in central Myanmar, the latest in a series of dam projects in the military-ruled state, official media reported today.

The dam will produce a maximum of 600 MW of power, the official New Lig-ht of Myanmar reported. The agreement was signed on Saturday in Myanmar’s new administrative capital Naypyidaw by the head of Myanmar’s hydropower department, Aung Koe Shwe and the chairman of the Yunnan United Power Development Co, Huang Guangming, it reported.

Myanmar’s government has recently signed a slate of agreements with neighbours China and Thailand to build hydro-electric da-ms that would generate energy to power their own growing economies. The bi-ggest of the projects is a $6 billion deal with Thailand signed in April to build a dam on the Salween River, the longest undammed river in Southeast Asia.

The dam would be the biggest in Myanmar with a 7,000-megawatt capacity but it has raised the ire of environmental groups and rights activists, who fear it will destroy habitats and uproot villages. The official newspaper reported the much smaller Shweli River dam would generate power mainly for use in Myanmar.

New gas deposits

Yangon: Myanmar, working with Thailand’s state oil firm, has discovered more potentially rich offshore gas deposits in the southwestern Gulf of Martaban. Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise and Th-ailand’s PTT Explorati-on and Production had discovered an estimated 75 billion square m-etres of natural gas in block M-9. Myanmar is increasingly reliant on revenue from its oil and gas deposits. Energy m-inister called for spee-dy launch of commercial production. — AFP