KUCHING: Sarawak Energy Bhd (SEB) has received tenders from 14 international bidders for the proposed 900MW Murum hydroelectric dam project in central Sarawak.
Group managing director Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Husain said the bidders were from China, Japan, South Korea, India and Brazil.
“We are now evaluating the tenders, and the project is expected to be awarded next month,” he told StarBiz after the company AGM yesterday.
Most of the bidders had collaborations with Malaysian firms, he said.
The Murum dam project, which is on a tributary of the Balui River in the upper reaches of the Rejang Basin, is sited some 60km upstream of the proposed 2,400MW Bakun project.
Abdul Aziz said to speed up the Murum dam project, SEB had carried out preliminary works to build a diversion tunnel. Once appointed, the successful bidder (contractor) would take over the diversion tunnel project, which is expected to be ready by July next year.
The construction of the main dam will start after the diversion tunnel was built.
The Murum dam is due for completion in late 2012, and commissioned the following year.
Abdul Aziz said Hong Leong Bank (Islamic), which handled SEB’s issuance of RM3bil bonds to finance the Murum project, had provided a RM400mil bridging loan to SEB.
He said since the Bakun project was due for completion earlier in 2010, it would power the aluminium smelter plants planned for the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy.
However, once Murum dam became operational, the Bakun dam power will be channelled to Peninsula Malaysia, assuming the undersea cable was in place, Abdul Aziz said.
He said SEB had done a feasibility study on the proposed 160MW Limbang dam, and that several other dams, including Lawas (110MW) and Baram (1,000MW), in the northern region had been planned. The power from these dams will be supplied to neighbouring Sabah.
In Kapit Division, SEB has identified another hydro dam project in Baleh (1,400MW).
Asked if SEB was keen to take up equity interest in Sarawak Hidro Sdn Bhd, owner of the Bakun dam, Abdul Aziz said it had to wait for the Federal Government’s decision now that Sime Darby Bhd had decided not to go for any stake in Sarawak Hidro.
He said power generated by Bakun could be used by energy-intensive industries in Sarawak if there was any delay in the construction of the submarine underwater cables to transmit the electricity to the peninsula.
On the recent increase in diesel price, Abdul Aziz said this was expected to add RM100mil a year in operational costs to SEB as it was used to power its rural generation plants.
For the financial year ended Dec 31,2007, SEB posted group pre-tax profit of RM400.7mil, up RM136mil over 2006. Group revenue jumped to RM1.32bil from RM1.18bil in 2006.