Burma Business Roundup (Saturday, March 3)
covering burma and southeast asia
Saturday, May 25, 2024

Burma Business Roundup (Saturday, March 3)

By WILLIAM BOOT / THE IRRAWADDY Saturday, March 3, 2012


Tavoy Coal Plant Green Light if Electricity not Exported

One of the potential Thai partners in developing the planned special economic zone (SEZ) on Burma’s southeast coast says the Naypyidaw government has revised its ban on building a giant coal-fueled power station.

Bangkok’s state energy conglomerate PTT said the Burmese government is now prepared to permit a 4,000 megawatt capacity plant as long as none of the electricity is exported to Thailand.

In late January, the Burmese Energy Ministry shocked the chief concessionaire for the Tavoy SEZ construction giant Italian-Thai Development by blocking plans for the coal power plant on the grounds that it was an environmental hazard.

Burmese environmentalists petitioned the government to stop the plant. The decision has threatened to undermine the SEZ plans, which include a deep-see port, oil transhipment facilities and a petrochemical complex.

Italian-Thai had said it would consult potential development partners, which include PTT, to consider alternative energy sources to fuel the construction and operation and Tavoy, also known as Dawei.

PTT Chief Executive Pailin Chuchottaworn told Bloomberg financial news agency on Wednesday that the Burmese government is only “against the idea of exporting coal-based power to Thailand, but they will allow coal-based power for internal use.”

The Burmese government has not commented on PTT’s statement.

PTT’s subsidiary PTTEP, an exploration and production company, is developing several new gas fields in Burma’s offshore waters, notably the Zawtika block in the Gulf of Martaban.

Development Donors Queue to Offer Assistance

Two major potential economic reconstruction donors have made positive announcements this week about re-engaging with the Burma authorities.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) said it is preparing to fund projects in the country after an absence of 25 years in the wake of recent political reforms.

“We have started exploratory work,” said ADB Managing Director General Rajat Nag.

“The development challenges of the country are huge [including] infrastructure and the social sector. They need a lot of support and capacity building,” Nag told Bloomberg financial news agency this week.

Separately, a delegation from the European Union Parliament has been visiting Burma to make assessments regarding the possible lifting of economic sanctions.

The visit, by 11 EU legislators, comes ahead of Brussels’s annual review of its sanctions imposed on Burma and its former military leaders.

The [EU] ministers of foreign affairs are scheduled to meet in April and I would bet that they would lift [the sanctions] gradually, especially if Aung San Suu Kyi will be elected,” legislator Robert Goebbels from Luxembourg told New York-based NTD Television on Wednesday.

“That would be a boost to relations between the European Union and Myanmar,” he said, adding that he believed there are no other hurdles.

The EU has already announced a two-year US $200 million aid package, but is expected to greatly bolster this with economic development help.

Nag said he was now seeking approval from the bank’s shareholders to provide assistance for infrastructure and development projects in Burma.

‘Formidable’ Infrastructure Problems Hamper Burma Revival

Despite having an economy in tatters, an incoherent exchange rate regime, weak investment laws and a crippled banking system, “there are no doubts about [Burma’s] potential,” says a report by a European think tank.

As governments and international donor organizations beat a path to Burma’s door, the European Union is especially well placed to help, the Brussels-based Friends of Europe study said.

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Oo Maung Gyi Wrote:
Why not give to construct airports to Asia world company which belong to drug lord Law Sit Han's son, Steven law, the cronies of previous junta and a black list of US? Burma is a country becomes very cloise eye point of Asean and EU due to it's natural resources which can make the counbtry a modern Burma. But it is immediately needed to amend constitution to be in democratic priciples. If Thein Sein is real reformist and has sincerity to change the country the only wat is to cooperate Aung San Suu Kyi who has in ternational recognition and good morale character and has popularity with her couyntry men.

Bill Gov Wrote:
Burma's potential seems promising but economic development in the country is indeed uphill challenging without a honest, clean and uncorrupted government.
While the Burmese government is ignorantly pushing ahead its poorly estimated economic development plans on overdrive, the EU, the international communities and savy foreign investments must be wary of false promises and hopes on their investment returns and can expect the economy to be stagnant and shrink due to over investments and over building.

Hlaing Oo Wrote:
One tonne of burnt coal makes 3.7 tonnes of CO2. A tipical (500 megawatt) coal plant burms 1.4 millon tons of coal each year. The more coal we burn the more pollution we spew into the air.

Our 2000 miles long coastal has planty of natural gas. We should use natural gas for long hunger electricity.

Our nations already suffered poor health. Using coal will make more harmful to health.

Moden coal industry technology couldn't make less carbondioxide that lead to smog.

Myitsone project could have destroyed the country from the head and Tavoy Coal plant will have destroyed the country from the tail.

Smog and Acid Rain. Lung disease, Asthma, Premature death, Respiratory illness, Heart disease and Cancer.

Ohn Wrote:
First the military destroyed and squander the country by theft and corruption in spite of total destruction of frontier regions, inner lands saved by lack of transport and technology as well as drug and opium deals.

Now they, to their credit, carefully orchestrated a facade of palatable appearance for all to enjoy to entice MONEY from different source as they now are scared stiff of their erstwhile "Pauk phew" brothers who are demanding their due pound of flesh.

Their main concern now is not to have any public uprising or riots. If they can also fulfill their customers' need along the way all the better.

Ohn Wrote:
Concern for the public? They would if they understand the word.

They would send along the feelers like this one and take as much as they can.

As for the knights in shining armor, the much touted international communities, their interest now intersects with Then Sein's.

Now the previuosly idealistic opposition forces are blind to the real plight of real people ( no talk of commodity price rises, artificially lowering of produce prices, killing and torturing of the citizens even though they are not famous) .

With this dissociation and misplaced faith of public in people who wants to be " rich like Thailand and Singapore" rather than keep the poor fed, their fate is doomed.

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