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Friday, January 4, 2008

Xeset 2 hydro project on track

Excavation of the headrace tunnel at the Xeset 2 hydropower plant ended on Friday in Lau-ngam district, Saravan province, after almost two years of work.

Work on the tunnel, which is more than 6,800 metres long, began in February last year.
“The headrace tunnel is the most difficult part of the project,” said Chinese Project Manager Wang Yan Tao, at a ceremony to celebrate the event.
Mr Wang said the excavation work was not only one of the most expensive parts of the project, but also involved unforeseen critical processes.
The completion of the tunnel was the basis for the on-time completion of the rest of the project, he said.
Construction of the whole plant is now 58 percent complete, after work began in November 2005.
“The project will be completed in August 2009; we are confident it will be completed on schedule in compliance with the specifications,” Mr Wang said.
The project is owned by Electricite du Laos (EDL), with construction being undertaken by the Norinco Construction Company of China .
It has an estimated cost of more than 1.2 trillion kip (US$135 million), with 80 percent financed by a loan from the Export Import Bank of China , and the other 20 percent contributed by EDL.
Mr Wang said his company and EDL now shared the investment, but Norinco would hand over the plant to EDL when it was complete, at which point EDL would repay its partner's share.
“The repayment period is 11 years, including the capital and interest,” said Lao Project Manager Souksavay Sipasop.
Xeset 2 will have 76MW of installed capacity, and will be able to produce more than 300GWh of electricity per year.
“About 20 percent of the energy will be exported to Thailand , but first we have to asses local power demand,” Mr Souksavay said.
The dam will be 23 metres high and 650 metres in length; it will have a small reservoir that will store only 800 cubic metres of water and an access road 39 kilometres long.
The Xeset 2 power source will lead to a significant increase of energy supply for EDL. It will ensure a more effective, accessible and reliable supply of electricity to the industrial and agricultural sectors - especially in rural and remote areas. The main objective is to serve the southern provinces.
According to the national economic development plan, 70 percent of the total population should have access to electricity by 2010 and 90 percent by 2020. Norinco is a giant enterprise group dealing mainly with defence products, international engineering construction, petroleum and mineral resources exploration, optic-electronic products, civilian explosives and chemical products, vehicles, and logistics operations.

By Phonsavanh Vongsay (Latest Update December 25, 2007)

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