Mekong Monitor: Thailand’s B. Grimm and Gulf Energy ink Vietnam LNG deals
Photo credit: Bangkok Post
TRADE, ECONOMY, AND INVESTMENT
Thailand’s B. Grimm and Gulf Energy ink Vietnam LNG deals
(5 November 2019) Thai energy company B. Grimm inked an agreement with Petrovietnam to study and develop a 3,000 megawatt (MW) integrated liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Vietnam. The signing was witnessed by Vietnamese premier Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Thai deputy prime minister Anutin Charnvirakul in Bangkok on November 2. If the feasibility study goes well, B.Grimm intends to double its capacity in the subsequent phase. Another Thai energy company, Gulf Energy Development Plc, also inked an agreement with the Vietnamese government on the same day to develop a gas-fired power facility and LNG terminal in Ninh Thuan province.
Vietjet launches new flights in Thailand
(2 November 2019) Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Thai deputy prime minister Anutin Charnvirakul witnessed the launch of two new flights operated by the Vietnamese carrier Vietjet’s Thai subsidiary Thai Vietjet Air, which connects Udon Thani with Bangkok and Chiang Rai. The low-cost carrier presently operates five domestic routes in Thailand and 17 international routes connecting Thailand, Vietnam, Taiwan and China. Separately, the Vietnamese premier also launched two new routes by national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines that will connect Bangkok and Da Nang, and Phuket and Ho Chi Minh City.
THAILAND, MYANMAR, CAMBODIA
Thailand seeks to trade electricity with Cambodia, Myanmar
(5 November 2019) A senior official of the state-owned Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) revealed this week that they have been instructed by energy minister Sontirat Sontijirawong to enter discussions with their Cambodian and Myanmar counterparts on trading up to 500 MW of electricity. According to the official, the three countries will need to enter an agreement for electricity trading, which they expect to begin by 2023. Thailand, Laos and Malaysia also agreed to trade up to 300 MW of electricity back in September under the Laos, Thailand and Malaysia Power Integration Project (LTM-PIP).
New bridge expected to facilitate Myanmar-Thailand trade
(4 November 2019) A new bridge linking Myanmar’s Myawaddy border town in Kayin State to Thailand’s Mae Sot border district officially opened on October 30. With this, heavy vehicles — especially those transporting goods — will be able to utilise the bridge for cross-border trade, thus reducing illegal trade activities and smoothing the transportation of goods. According to a Myanmar freight transportation association, around 100 Myanmar drivers hold cross-border licenses, and the new bridge will enable them to transport goods from Yangon’s Thilawa port and Bangkok’s Laem Chabang Port.
Thai firm buys stake in northern Vietnam’s largest water plant
(4 November 2019) Thai industrial firm WHA Utilities and Power (WHAUP) announced recently that it has acquired a 34% stake worth US$89.35 million in the Duong River Surface Water Plant JSC as part of its Mekong expansion plans, particularly in Vietnam. The plant in Gia Lam, which is the largest in northern Vietnam, presently treats 300,000 cubic meters of water daily, with plans to quadruple this volume by 2030. Ultimately, the plant is expected to supply clean water for around three million people, including one-third of Hanoi’s residents.
About Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS)
The Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Economic Programme was launched by the Asian Development Bank in 1992 connecting five developing ASEAN countries, namely Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand, and Chinese provinces of Yunnan and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous region. The region has some of the most robust economies sharing the Mekong River Basin thanks to its reform and liberalisation. The subregion is growing at a faster pace than the whole of East Asia and the Asia Pacific as the GDP growth rate for 2017 was at 6.4 percent, according to the World Bank. The population at the subregion as of 2016 is at 340 million while the GDP at PPP is at US$3.1 trillion in 2016. In 2015, trading within the region was at US$444 billion.