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Business

Japan's Marubeni to build coal-fired power plant in Myanmar

TOKYO -- Japanese trading house Marubeni will partner with Thai utilities to build a 2-million-kilowatt coal-burning power plant in Myanmar.

     While most of the output will be exported to Thailand, the remainder will be supplied in Myanmar, which is suffering a chronic electricity shortage.

     The project will cost about 350 billion yen ($3.2 billion). Marubeni will create a joint venture with Thailand's state-owned oil company, PTT, along with the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand and a construction company in Myanmar, among others.

     The partners will soon sign a memorandum of understanding on the plant's construction with the Myanmar government. They aim to break ground for the facility by 2016 and begin operations in 2020.

     This will be Myanmar's first ultrasupercritical power plant, emitting 20% less carbon dioxide than conventional coal-burning facilities. Japan is a leader in this technology, and Marubeni will call on industry heavyweights such as Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems, IHI and Toshiba to contribute their technical expertise.

     The project will also entail the installation of a power cable connecting the plant, situated near the Thai-Myanmar border, to a district in central Thailand about 250km away. Some 80% of the plant's output will be sold to Thailand, and the other 20% will be distributed within Myanmar.

     Power shortages are common in Myanmar, including at industrial parks. Domestic demand for electricity totals about 1.8 million kilowatts, but the country only has the capacity to generate around 1.3 million kilowatts.

     With demand expected to grow 7-8% annually, expanding the country's power supply has become a pressing concern.

     Rival trading house Mitsubishi Corp. also plans to build a coal-fired power plant in Myanmar under a partnership with Thai utilities.

(Nikkei)

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