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Thursday, December 27, 2007

President attends Xekhaman 3 hydro ceremony

President Choummaly Sayasone and his wife, along with senior Lao and Vietnamese officials, took part in a ‘river closing' ceremony on Thursday as part of the construction of the Xekhaman 3 hydropower plant, in Dakcheung district, Xekong province.

With the changing of the course of the river, the water will now flow into the tunnel leading to the dam.

The ceremony was hosted by the Viet-Lao Power Joint Stock Company, which signed an agreement with the Lao government for the project in 2006 and will concede the project for a period of 30 years.

Lao Standing Deputy Prime Minister Somsavat Lengsavad, Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai and project representatives also attended the ceremony.

“This project highlights the special solidarity and cooperation between our Parties and nations, at the same time contributing to socio-economic development and the eradication of poverty in Laos ,” said Mr Somsavat at the ceremony.

He observed that the plant was the largest investment in hydropower between Laos and Vietnam ; it would bring in considerable revenue for the state and lead to the development of infrastructure in the rural areas.

“ Laos and Vietnam cooperated in fighting common aggressors during the Indochina War; now we are working together to develop our two countries,” he said.

Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai said the Lao and Vietnamese governments had a contract for cooperation in the field of electricity generation, with Laos agreeing to supply Vietnam with 3,000MW by 2020.

“An abundance of natural resources has given Laos tremendous opportunity. Rivers enable Laos to harness hydropower with a capacity of some 23,000MW, generating 100 billion kWh of energy,” he said.

As well as this project, Vietnam will continue to cooperate with Laos in the investment and development of the Xekhaman 1, Xekhaman 4 and other hydropower projects in Laos .

Song Da Corporation of Vietnam is building the dam, which is scheduled for completion in 2009.

“So far, construction work on the Xekhaman 3 project is about 30 percent complete,” said the Director General of Song Da Corporation, Mr Duong Khanh Toan.

The plant is costing US$273 million, with a capacity of 250MW and will generate 1 billion kWh of energy per year for export to Vietnam . Laos holds a 15 percent share in the project.

Laos entered into an agree ment with Vietnam for the production of hydroelectric power in July 1998 and plans to export about 2,000MW of power to Vietnam between 2003 and 2010.

The Deputy Director General of the Energy Promotion and Development Department of the Ministry of Energy and Mines said in June that the government's development plans specify that Laos will complete 29 hydroelectric power development schemes, with a total installed capacity of 8,657MW.

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