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South Korean firms win US$1 billion dam and hydroplant deal on Mekong

SEOUL -- South Korean builder SK Engineering and Construction and state-run Korean Western Power have won a US$1 billion deal to build and operate a hydropower plant in Laos, an official said Tuesday.

Under the deal with the Laotian government, SK Construction will build three dams and a hydropower plant at the Mekong River in the southern plateau of Bolaven by 2018, an SK Construction spokesman told AFP.

The Xe-Namnoy plant — with an estimated capacity of 410 megawatts — will be owned and managed by Korean Western Power until 2045, after which it will be taken over by the Laotian authorities, he said.

The electricity generated at the plant will mostly be sold to Thailand while the Laos will earn an estimated 33 billion won (US$30 million) annually in taxes and other fees, he added.

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