Tuesday July 7, 2009

Malaysia-Sarawak submarine cable contract to be awarded next year


KUCHING: The contract for the submarine cable project to supply power from the Bakun hydro-electric dam in Sarawak to the peninsula is expected to be awarded in mid-2010.

Sarawak Energy Bhd (SEB) group managing director Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Husain said a consultant for the project had been appointed, and that an international tender would be called early next year.

“The first (undersea) transmission line is expected to be completed in 2015,” he told reporters after SEB’s briefing to Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Datuk Peter Chin Fah Kui yesterday.

Chin said the project was estimated to cost between RM8bil and RM10bil. The project’s environmental impact study is now under way.

Aziz said the first 675km-long submarine cable would link Sematan in southern Sarawak to Tanjung Leman, Johor.

The second underwater cable, he added, would only be built in 2017.

Chin said the Bakun hydro dam project, which could generate up to 2,400 MW, was expected to generate electricity late next year. The project in the upper Rejang Basin in central Sarawak is now 90% completed.

The Bakun dam is owned by Sarawak Hidro Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Minister of Finance Inc.

Chin said a special-purpose vehicle, having Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB), SEB and the Sarawak government as shareholders, would be set up to operate the Bakun dam based on a lease.

Power from Bakun will be sold to TNB, which entered into an agreement with SEB last year to jointly undertake feasibility study to determine the interconnection framework for the long-term power transmission from Sarawak to the peninsula. The first part of the study is scheduled for completion by the end of the year.

TNB and SEB are expected to sign the first definitive agreement in the form of power purchase agreement, which will detail the pricing, duration of supply, minimium off-take and other matters, next year.

SEB plans to develop a dozen hydro dam projects to increase its generation capacity over time.

From 2017 to 2020, it expects to sell 3,000 MW to TNB, and from 2021 to 2030, it will export an additional 5,000 MW to the peninsula through TNB.

It will export power to Sabah, and probably also to west Kalimantan, Indonesia and Brunei.

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