Myanmar’s ageing natural gas turbines are due for renovations as the Ministry of Electric Power (MOEP) plans a tender this year, according to officials.
The mostly American-made GE turbines have generally been operating for over 40 years, fuelled by onshore natural gas, and are well past due for replacement, said MOEP Thermal Power Department chief engineer U Win Myint.
“Foreign firms are surveying the ageing gas turbines, and are preparing appraisals for their renovations,” he said.
After a consensus is reached on costs, the ministry aims to launch a tender process to this year to renovate the turbines.
The first target will likely be the turbines at Kyaungchaung which began operation in 1974, followed by the Shwetaung turbines which operated since 1980.
The two plants have a total of six gas turbines, which are to be replaced one at a time to minimise the disruption to electricity production.
Myanmar currently has 10 state-owned natural gas-fuelled power plants and seven other privately owned plants operating under Power Purchasing Agreements. They produce a total of 740 megawatts (MW) of power, or about 30 percent of the national total.
Improving production at existing plants has been targeted as one important step to meeting Myanmar’s energy shortage.
The World Bank signed an agreement with the MOEP last year to renovate an ageing gas-fired plant in Mon State. The bank granted a US$140 million loan to Myanmar without interest to renovate the plant and enhance its power generation to 106MW.
U Win Myint said there are a total of 27 gas turbines in the 10 state-owned plants, but only 15 turbines at 9 plants are current running due to periodic natural gas shortages and aging capacity.
The Ministry of Energy supplies about 317 million cubic feet of natural gas a day to the MOEP to run its gas-fired power plants. It has also announced plans to build more gas-fired plants in Myingyan in Mandalay Region, Rakhine State’s Kyaukphyu, Kanpauk in Tanintharyi Region and Yangon.
Source: Myanmar Times