Combined-cycle plant begins full operations

Sembcorp has begun full commercial operations at Myingyan, after beginning its first phase in May.
 
The $300m combined-cycle plant will generate around 1,500 GWh. The plant is operated under a 22-year agreement, after which it will be handed over to the Myanmar government.
 
The power purchase agreement for the plant was originally signed in March 2016, just days before the NLD government took office.
 
Two other combined-cycle plants received PPAs at the same time as Myingyan. One, in Thaketa township near Yangon, has already been built, while the other, in Kanbauk, Tanintharyi Region, appears to have missed its milestones, with Ministry of Electricity and Energy officials stating earlier this year that negotiations are ongoing.
 
Myingyan was initially to be built by a consortium including Sembcorp Utilities, which is Singapore listed, and MMID Utilities, a Singapore-registered company thought to be owned by Myanmar interests.
 
However, though this is no longer thought to be the case. In June 2017, MMIDU director U Kyaw Paing reportedly filed a civil suit in Yangon seeking to stop Sembcorp Myingyan Power from removing MMIDU’s name from agreements with the government, including the power purchase agreement.
 
The same article by Frontier magazine stated Sembcorp originally said in a December 2015 press statement that the firm would have an 80% stake in the project, with MMID Utilities owning the rest. 
 
For a few optimistic years, the Sembcorp PPA was held up as proof that Myanmar could produce a bankable PPA that was internally and externally accepted. The initial goal appeared to be that PPA was replicable by other projects, though this has not come to pass as intended, perhaps due to the document’s complexity.
 
The project includes:
  • Two sets of gas turbine units
  • Two sets of heat recover steam generators
  • One steam turbine generating unit 
  • A short, 3km transmission line
 
The project was also notable for the large number of international lenders participating in the project, including Temasek-linked Clifford Capital, DBS Bank, DZ Bank, OCBC, IFC, ADB and AIIB.
 
Myingyan was one of three gas-fired projects touted by the government to come online this year, the other two being UREC's Thaketa plant and the World Bank supported refurbishment of Thaton in Mon State.