Energy Supply Contracts Go to Chinese Firms

Two Chinese firms have been awarded government contracts to expand Cambodia’s energy infrastructure, the Council of Ministers said in a statement issued Friday.

A $400-million dam and 120-megawatt hydropower plant on the Atai stream—which runs through Kompong Speu, Koh Kong and Pursat provinces—was approved Friday, said Tun Lean, director of the Energy Department at the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy.

The China Yunnan Corporation for International Techno-Economic Cooperation was awarded the contract for the project to be completed by 2012, which will provide electricity to Phnom Penh, Battambang province and Sihanoukville, Tun Lean said Sunday.

Other Chinese companies are studying the feasibility of building additional dams in the area on the Russei Chrum, Chay Areng and Tatai streams, he said.

If built, they and the Atai dam could produce 852 megawatts of power, he added.

“We hope that, if all stations are completed, the stations can produce enough electricity for the users,” Tun Lean said.

In its statement, the Council of Ministers also said it had selected Yunnan Southeast-Asia Economy and Technology Invest­ment In­dustrial Co Ltd to install electricity transmission lines in Phnom Penh, Kom­pong Chhang, Pursat and Bat­tam­bang provinces.

SRP lawmaker Eng Chhay Eang encouraged the government to focus on recruiting non-Chinese companies to meet Cambodia’s energy needs.

“Chinese companies produce low quality,” he said.

Khlaut Randy, Industry Ministry secretary of state, said Chinese hydro­power companies had done quality work in Cambodia. Tun Lean said China has shown the most interest in hydropower development in the country.

Malaysian and Japanese companies looked into dam building but did not pursue with serious bids and, he said, “there is no investment from the West.”

Said Eng Chhay Eang: “Com­panies from other foreign countries don’t want to come to Cambodia because of the non-transparent bidding process and corruption.”

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