YANGON — The Ministry of Electricity and Energy (MOEE) says the overdue Chinese-backed liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects in Yangon will operate “very soon” now deliveries from Malaysia have arrived.
On Thursday, Malaysia’s state-owned oil and gas company, Petronas, said it delivered 190,000 cubic meters of LNG for the Yangon projects, which will be the first of their kind in Myanmar.
MOEE said the 400-megawatt (MW) plant in Thaketa Township and 350MW power station in Thanlyin Township would not run at full capacity while they were using a temporary jetty and mobile-filling platform. Meanwhile, Myanmar is constructing a jetty to receive LNG to allow the plants to run at full capacity.
Petronas said the two LNG cargoes were delivered in May and June as part of a master sale and purchase agreement between its subsidiary, Petronas LNG Ltd. (PLL), and China National Technical Import and Export Cooperation (CNTIC) and Hong Kong-listed VPower that was signed in early 2020.
LNG is natural gas super-chilled to be transported in liquid form.
Myanmar called for five emergency projects last year after severe blackouts during the hot season. Among the five projects, the three largest are LNG projects: in Thanlyin and Thaketa in Yangon and a 150MW plant in Kyaukphyu in Rakhine State.
All three projects were awarded to VPower and its joint venture, CNTIC, in September last year. The combined capacity of the three LNG projects is 900MW, at a cost of over US$800 million (1.1 trillion kyats).
In May, deputy energy minister U Khin Maung Win told Parliament that the three projects and a gas power plant had been delayed due to COVID-19.
Coronavirus travel restrictions meant equipment and the experts required to install it were unable to reach Myanmar. All projects were due to commence operations in the first week of April.
On Sunday in Naypyitaw, Union Minister U Win Khaing told officials to abide by international standards at the county’s first LNG power projects.
He urged staff to work hard to rapidly bring the LNG project into operation and follow COVID-19 restrictions
Myanmar has the lowest level of access to electricity in Asean with only half of the country’s 54.5 million population connected to the national grid.
According to the MOEE, electricity consumption has increased by 15-19 percent annually over the past few years. The World Bank told Myanmar last year that it needed to invest up to US$2 billion (2.8 trillion kyats) annually in its electricity sector to sustain economic growth, with demand expected to increase by 11 percent annually until 2030.
The bank forecasts electricity demand will reach 8.6 gigawatts in 2025 and 12.6GW in 2030.
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