NAYPYIDAW, Myanmar, Oct. 9 (UPI) -- India and Singapore have agreed to jointly build a power plant with Myanmar for the energy-starved Southeast Asian country.
The coal-fired, 500-megawatt power plant in Kyauktan, Myanmar's Yangon region, will be built by Myanmar's Ministry of Electric Power, Orange Powergen Pvt Ltd of India, Global Adviser Pte Ltd of Singapore and Myanmar's Diamond Palace Services Co Ltd, China's state-run news service Xinhua reported Wednesday.
Separately, The Hindu newspaper Monday said India's Tata Power has begun feasibility studies to set up a coal-fired power station in Myanmar, the company's first project in the country formerly called Burma.
The proposed power plant would be located in Ngayok Kaung in the Ayeyarwaddy region, and would have captive coal berthing arrangements.
An unnamed company official told The Hindu that the capacity for the plant, expected to be commissioned around 2019, would be finalized after the feasibility studies.
Myanmar produced up to 9.73 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity in 2012-13, far short of the country's demand for electrical power.
Latest statistics from the U.S. Energy Information Administration show that only 22 percent of Myanmar's population had access to electricity in 2011.
Myanmar relies on hydropower for nearly 70 percent of its electricity generation, but because of the high demand, the government is striving to produce electricity from natural gas, diesel, coal fire, solar power, wind power, biogas and waste fuel in addition to hydropower.
The CIA World Factbook estimates that Myanmar holds around 50 million barrels of oil reserves and roughly 1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
The country's future electricity needs are likely to be fueled by coal rather than its oil and gas reserves, experts say.
Myanmar is anticipating "big new discoveries" of natural gas from exploration and production to come from new offshore licenses due to be awarded soon, regional energy industry consultant Collin Reynolds in Bangkok was quoted as saying this week by Myanmar's The Irrawaddy newspaper. However, Reynolds noted that "there is no guarantee" of such discoveries "and even if there is, there will be strong pressure to sell a lot of it to foreign customers" to boost Myanmar's gross domestic product.