Illustrative photo (Source: Internet)

Vientiane (VNA) - Laos and Myanmar are mulling over an electricity agreement to empower Laos' development needs, local daily Vientiane Times quoted a senior Lao official as saying on January 16.

Daovong Phonekeo, head of the Office of the Lao Ministry of Energy and Mines told Vientiane Times that the two sides will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) this week, allowing Myanmar authorities to initiate a feasibility study.

Myanmar wants to purchase about 100-200 MW, but that will depend on the results of their feasibility study, Daovong said.

Daovong said Laos would supply electricity to Myanmar through its northern power grids. "If everything progresses as planned, we expect to start selling electricity to Myanmar by the end of this year or the beginning of next year."

Laos currently sells only 4-5 MW to Myanmar, which is a very small amount, and the two nations aim to increase it in the near future.

According to a report from Myanmar media on January 13, Myanmar has adopted a National Electrification Plan under which it is planned that power will be available nationwide by 2030.

Laos has huge potential in hydropower, which can further drive economic growth. The country currently has 46 power plants with a designed capacity of 6,757 MW, generating about 35,608 GWh of electricity annually, said the Vientiane Times.

According to the Ministry of Energy and Mines, Laos is expected to generate 10,000 MW of electricity by 2020 and 20,000 MW by 2030, which will be far exceeding domestic demand.

In September last year, Laos signed a tripartite electricity-trading agreement with Thailand and Malaysia to sell 100 MW of electricity to Malaysia using Thailand's power transmission network. The delivery will begin on August 1, 2018.

On January 15, Laos and Myanmar inked three MoUs on bilateral cooperation in electricity, science-technology and corruption prevention as part of Lao PM Thongloun Sisoulith’s visit to Myanmar at the invitation of Myanmar President U Htin Kyaw.

Sharing 230km of border, Laos and Myanmar set up their diplomatic relations in July 1955. Both countries joined the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 1997. However, statistics showed that their two-way trade still remained modest.-VNA