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Industry News

U.S. Firm to Revive Arun III Hydroelectric Project

LCG, Aug. 14, 2000--Eurorient, a Los Angeles-based investment company, will invest $1.5 billion in construction of the dormant 402 megawatt Arun III hydroelectric project in Nepal, government officials in Katmandu said yesterday.

Construction will begin next year and is expected to take up to seven years to complete. Building the plant was to have begun in 1995, following completion of design and feasibility studies, but the World Bank pulled out of the project after bowing to pressure from environmental groups who said it would create an "ecological imbalance" in the Himalayas.

The Arun III project is expected to partially remedy an economic imbalance in the region. Nepal is one of the worlds poorest nations and has almost nothing of value to export -- 1997 estimated exports of just $419 million do not include unrecorded trade along the border with India.

Eurorient said it is exploring the possibility of exporting power to the Indian state of Bihar, which has an excess of demand over supply of some 15,000 megawatts. Ten percent of the revenue from power exports would go to the Nepalese government.

Construction will begin with building 80 miles of mountain roads to gain access to the Arun Khola River in eastern Nepal.

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