BangkokPost.com from Thailand News Agency, Radio Thailand
But the country is to pursue its co-investment in energy affairs in Burma by encouraging the PTT Exploration and Production Plc to make additional investment in petroleum exploration in the country and finance at least one more major dam in the military-ruled country.
The government is ending its "cosy relationship" with the Burmese military dictators (see separate story in today's Bangkok Post).
Thailand's Permanent Secretary for Commerce Pornchai Rujiprapa said Energy Minister Piyasvasti Amranand accompanied Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont on his official visit to Thailand's Permanent Secretary for Commerce Pornchai Rujiprapa said Energy Minister Piyasvasti Amranand accompanied Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont on his one-day official visit to Burma today.
The energy minister planned to discuss ways to follow up bilateral cooperation in power generation and the development of new petroleum fields.
He said PTTEP was ready to invest in the development of new energy sources in addition to Burma's existing Yanada and Yetakun fields.
In addition, the minister expects to raise the progress in the development of the Hat Yee hydropower project regarding which the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) had signed a memorandum of understanding.
Under the project, Egat would co-invest with Chinese investors in construction of a hydropower dam with a power generation capacity of some 1,200 megawatts located along the Thai-Burmese border.
Should Burma endorse the investment, he said, the Energy Ministry would proceed to negotiate details of additional investment.
It is expected the dam would be completed within 5-6 years. The project, when implemented successfully, will benefit both countries in terms of power supply and lower power bills.
Hydropower is considered a key energy source that means lower-cost power generation than other energy sources.
Earlier, the Thai and Burmese governments had discussed a joint plan to forge ahead with implementing a hydropower plant on the Salween River.
The plant is set to supply power for both countries and under the Asean Grid project, supply power to other countries as well.
REPORT ON SURAYUD TRIP TO BURMA
Rangoon (dpa) - Thai Prime Minister General Surayud Chulanont met with leaders of the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) Thursday during an official one-day visit to Burma by the newly installed Thai leader.
Surayud arrived at Burma's new capital of Naypyidaw at 10 a.m. and met with Than Shwe, the ruling junta's strongman and SPCD chairman, as well as Prime Minister General Soe Win, who was scheduled to host a lunch for the Thai delegation later in the day.
The Thai leader was scheduled to meet with Soe Win again at his office in Naypyidaw, 300 kilometres north of the former capital of Yangon (Rangoon), later in the day before returning to Bangkok at 3 p.m.
Burma was the last of Surayud's courtesy visits to the capitals of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) since he was appointed prime minister on October 1.
Surayud's government will honour previous government-to-government agreements, but it will not be as close to the generals in Yangon as was former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was overthrown in a coup last September 19, government officials said.
During Thaksin's five-plus years in office his government signed many controversial deals with the military government in Yangon, including soft loans and memorandums of understanding concerning energy exploration.
But Thailand does plan to continue to explore co-investing in energy projects with Burma, including oil and gas exploration and dams along their common border, the country's Permanent Secretary for Commerce Pornchai Rujiprapa said Thursday.
Thailand's Energy Minister Piyasvasti Amranand traveled to Yangon with Surayud on Thursday with the aim of following up cooperation in power generation.
Piyasvasti is interested in Thailand's PTT Exploration and Production Plc exploring for petroleum in Burma and developing new petroleum fields, Pornchai said.
Cooperating in the development of Burma's Hat Gyi hydropower project is another issue Thailand is interested in pursuing.
Thailand's Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) signed a memorandum of understanding with Burma concerning the project in 2005. Under the MoU, EGAT and Chinese investors would co-invest in the dam on the Thai-Burmese border.
Proponents of the dam claim that it would produce 1,200 megawatts and mean lower power bills in both countries.
But the dam, and others along the Salween River that marks part of the border, are hugely controversial. Critics claim they would give an already brutal military government in Burma more political power in an area where they are already involved in forced relocations and other human rights abuses against the ethnic minorities there.
Burma's ruling junta has already targeted ethnic groups in the border region where the proposed dam would be built, and its construction would only make the human rights situation there worse, critics say.
Environmental groups have also criticised the impact the dam would have in the undeveloped area.