Investment and  Infrastructure development Thai-Laos

On November 2008 in Vientianne, Lao and Thai government officials discussed cooperation in development projects between the two countries, particularly in the construction of railway tracks, bridges and the sale of electricity, reported Bangkok Post newspaper. These projects are meant to facilitate trade and movement of people between the two countries and would indirectly foster integration of the countries in this region.

Below are a list of projects between Thailand and Laos:

  • The two Mekong River bridges. Thai-Lao Bridge, ‘‘trade and tourism gateway to Indochina", was opened on Dec 20, 2006. The bridge is part of the East-West Corridor project under the Asian Development Bank, which links northeastern Thailand with Vietnam through a road in southern Laos.  The northeastern province of Thailand has enjoyed little benefit from the bridge linking it with Savannakhet province in Laos, according to the provincial Federation of Thai Industries.
  • The construction of a stretch of three and a half kilometers of railway track between Vientiane and Nong Kai province of Thailand, which will be functional in March 2009.
  • the construction of nine kilometers of railway tracks and Road No 11.
  • Thai-Laos construction of hydroelectric dams - The Nam Ngum 2 hydropower plant in Laos may start operations four months earlier than scheduled in an attempt to earn more income to offset the unexpected rise in construction costs, said South East Asia Energy Co (SEAN), the project operator.  The overseas energy unit of Thailand’s second-largest construction firm, SET listed Ch. Karnchang Plc, has completed 65% of the 615-Megawatt power plant since work began in 2005. The plant’s operator and the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat), the power buyer, have agreed on a selling price years ago in a power purchasing agreement (PPA).  The projects where construction has been delayed for one year include the hydropower plants Nam Ngiep, Nam Ngum 3, Nam Theun 1, Nam Ou and the coal-fired Hongsa Lignite plant, with a combined output of 2,336 MW.  The two countries currently are discussing the  cost of construction of hydroelectric dams concerning the adjustment in the price of electricity against the backdrop of the current economic crisis in the world, the higher price of oil and the higher cost of construction materials.
  • The two countries demarcation work, which is a follow-up action on the agreement signed by the Deputy Prime Ministers of the two countries in October 2008.
  • The illegal immigration issue: the two sides agreed to give this task to the Lao and Thai Border Security Committee to carry out their cooperative work and to use the previous bilateral agreement as a guideline.
  • The Wattay 2 Drainage System Project in Laos. This project costs 39.36 billion kip (160 million baht) to build and it is now draining the waste water of Vientiane Capital. The Thai government provided 70 percent of the funds for this project in the form of a loan and 30 per cent of the money was a grant.
  • Thailand's Glow Energy PCL GLOW.BK, a subsidiary of French utility Suez SA (LYOE.PA: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), said on Wednesday it was close to concluding a deal to buy a 67 percent stake in a power plant in Laos from parent Suez.  The plan to buy a stake in Hua Ho power plant is estimated at about 1.7 billion baht ($49 million).  Suez holds 80 percent of the 138-MW Hua Ho hydropower plant. Thai industrial estate developer Hemaraj Land and Development PLC HEMR.BK is keen to buy the other 13 percent from the French firm.
  • Thailand will give Laos 98 million baht (US$2.9m) to help it organise the 25th SEA Games in 2009. The money will be given to help Laos organise the 25th SEA Games by improving stadiums and trainng staff.  The biennial Games are scheduled to take place in Laos at the end of 2009.  Thailand would send referees to train Laotian personnel in 12 sporting events and offer further training courses in Bangkok in four other events. Thailand will also loan Laos sports equipment from the previous SEA Games, which took place in Nakhon Ratchasima last December. Laos, which has no experience in organising international sporting events, will host the 25-sport Games from December 3-12, 2009. Thailand joins China, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam and the Olympic Council of Asia in supporting the Laos event, which will take place mostly at the national stadium in the capital of Vientianne.

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