Botum Sakor power station

From Global Energy Monitor
This article is part of the CoalSwarm coverage of Cambodia and coal
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Botum Sakor power station is a proposed 700-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power station sponsored by the Royal Group for Koh Kong province, Cambodia. The plant's Chinese name is 波东沙哥煤电站.


The map below shows the proposed location for the plant in the Thmar Sa Village of Botum Sakor.[1] Imagery on Planet appears to show the land clearing progress (late 2020/early 2021). As of September 2021 and December 2021, preliminary construction appeared underway. The People’s Map of Global China provides additional information on the project and project location.

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Background on Plant

In October 2016, the Cambodian government began reviewing a feasibility study for a 400 to 500 MW coal plant prepared by Royal Group. If approved the plant would be built in Stung Hav district. Feasibility reports for a coal plant in Cambodia by Royal Group go as far back as 2007.[2]

A 2018 Royal Group presentation stated the company was planning a coal plant of 500 MW in Sihanoukville at an estimated cost of US$860 million. Discussions with Chinese investors were reportedly ongoing.[3]

In June 2019, Royal Group asked for permission to expand the project’s capacity to 700 MW citing increased power demand, and the company was granted permission that month. The expansion required a new project feasibility study, which was estimated to take 18 to 20 months to complete before it could be submitted to the government for approval.[4][5]

In February 2020, plant sponsor Royal Group and Chinese firm Sinosteel Equipment & Engineering Co., Ltd. were licensed to jointly construct the 700 MW plant in southwest Koh Kong province with an investment cost of US$1.34 billion.[6]

The government donated 168 hectares in Botum Sakor National Park in Koh Kong to the Royal Group to build the coal plant after re-classifying the land as private property.[7]

According to China Dialogue, land clearing began by October 2020 resulting in displacement. No environmental impact assessment (EIA) of the project was made public.[8]

In November 2020, Sinosteel of China signed a US$1.1 billion contract with Royal Group to build the coal plant on a "Build, Own and Operate" (BOO) basis. The power station was planned for operation in 2023-2024.[9]

Botum Sakor Energy Co Ltd, a subsidiary of the Royal Group, obtained the go-ahead from the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) on December 8, 2020 for the power station. The Royal Group also received government approval to build a special economic zone (SEZ) on 100 sq km in the national park, in Botum Sakor district’s southernmost Ta Noun and Thma Sar communes.[10]

As of January 2021, a ministry spokesperson noted that everything was on schedule and that the company had prepared the land surface for the upcoming facility construction.[11]

In June 2021, the company received in-principle approval from the government to dredge sand in the Prek Sre Ambel River to fill some of the areas in the company’s SEZ and power station development projects.[10]

In July 2021, the project was reportedly behind schedule. Construction was reportedly approximately 10% complete according to a senior official at the Ministry of Mines and Energy. The completion date was pushed back to 2025.[12]

In October 2021, Cambodia announced that they would not develop any future coal schemes, with the exception of three proposed projects. The Botum Sakor power station in Koh Kong was among those three.[13]

There was no apparent update on the progress of the plant between July 2021 and July 2022. However, Planet imagery from that time period showed that some forward progress had been made.

Land compensation

Reports stated the project would cover an area of 168 hectares in Botum Sakor and affect 58 families who would be required to relocate. There were conflicting reports regarding the degree to which affected families accepted compensation: on July 29, 2020, Khmer Times reported that all 58 families had accepted compensation,[14] while on July 28, 2020, provincial media stated only 26 had accepted.[15]


In February 2020, Cambodia Express News reported that the plant and transmission infrastructure were being financed by 30% company equity and 70% loan, at an interest rate of 6.5%, but did not state who was providing the loan.[16]

The signing of the BOO contract with Sinosteel appeared to change the financing arrangement. Sinosteel was likely to provide equity financing for the project. Royal Group and Sinosteel were also reportedly seeking Chinese lenders to provide debt financing.[17] According to the agreement signed between Sinosteel and Royal Group, the Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) contract would not become active until financial close is reached.[18]

As of October 2021, there was no information available that the project had reached financial close.[19][20]

Coal source

As of 2020, the plant was expected to run on imported coal, and the development plan included a jetty for docking and offloading imported coal.[21]

Threat to national park

Environmental activists have said that the area has tremendous potential for industries like sustainable fishing and ecotourism led by people in the community. They are concerned that developing a coal plant and new special economic zone (SEZ) within the lush Botum Sakor National Park will kill the region's potential. One activist noted: “This is basically the final nail in the coffin for this national park, which used to be the largest in the country [and has] phenomenal wildlife.”[22]

Project Details

  • Sponsor: Botum Sakor Energy Co. Ltd.
  • Parent company: Royal Group
  • Developer: Sinosteel Engineering & Technology Co. Ltd.
  • Location: Thmar Sa Village, Botum Sakor district, Koh Kong province, Cambodia
  • Coordinates: 10.892928, 103.389776 (exact)
  • Status: Permitted
  • Capacity: 700 MW (Units 1&2: 350 MW)
  • Type:
  • Start date: 2025
  • Coal Type:
  • Coal Source: Imported
  • Source of financing:
  • Permits and applications:

Articles and resources


  1. "国公省700兆瓦燃煤发电厂项目 开发区居民赔偿安置问题协商中," 柬中時報
  2. "Royal Group submits plan for coal-fired plant," Phnom Penh Post, 8 September 8, 2016
  3. "An Introduction," Royal Group of Companies, 2018
  4. "Royal Group to do study on 700 MW power plant," Khmer Times, June 18, 2019
  5. "Fanning the flames," Globe, October 8, 2019
  6. "Two coal-fired power plant development projects approved - Khmer Times," Khmer Times, February 7, 2020
  7. "Firm granted land for Koh Kong coal plant," Phnompenh Post, August 9, 2020
  8. "Cambodia chooses coal in rush for power," China Dialogue, October 29, 2020
  9. "11.06亿美元拿下合同 中企承建国公省燃煤电站," 柬中時報, November 19, 2020
  10. 10.0 10.1 "Royal Group to dredge sand," The Phnom Penh Post, June 15, 2021
  11. "Coal-fired power plants on schedule," Khmer Times, January 20, 2021
  12. "Construction of 700-megawatt Coal-Fired Power Plant in Koh Kong 10% Complete," Construction Property, July 29, 2021
  13. "Cambodia Pledges to End New Coal Projects as Climate Crisis Intensifies," Cambodianess, November 1, 2021
  14. "Royal Group compensates families over project," Khmer Times, July 29, 2020
  15. "ប្រជាព​ល​រដ្ឋ​ ២​៦​គ្រួ​សារ ព្រមទ​ទួ​លយ​កសំ​ណង​ លើ​គ​ម្រោង​អ​ភិ​វ​ឌ្ឍន៍ រោ​ងច​ក្រអគ្គិសនី ដុ​ត​ធ្យូង​ថ្ម​," កោះកុងទាន់ហេតុការណ៍, July 28, 2020
  16. Sambath Kong, "អនុម័តទាំ​ងស្រុងលើ “គម្រោងអភិវឌ្ឍរោងចក្រអ​គ្គិ​សនី​ដុតធ្យូងថ្ម ២៦៥មេហ្គាវ៉ាត់ នៅស្រុកត្រពាំងប្រាសាទ ​គម្រោងអភិវឌ្ឍបណ្ដាញប​ញ្ជូ​ន២​៣០គីឡូវ៉ុល ពីរោងចក្រអគ្គិសនីធ្យូ​ង​ថ្មខេ​ត្តឧត្ត​រ​មាន​ជ័​យ," CEN, November 18, 2020
  17. "中国官宣境外煤电之后,全球主要国家的煤电储备项目汇总," Weixin, September 27, 2021
  18. "中钢国际:日常经营重大合同公告," EastMoney, November 19, 2020
  19. "China’s Overseas Coal Pledge: What Next for Cambodia’s Energy Development?," The People's Map, October 18, 2021
  20. “China’s coal plant plans provide a chance for Cambodia to go green,” Khmer Times, September 29, 2021
  21. "Royal Group’s 700 mW coal-fired power station gets Senate nod," Khmer Times, April 2, 2020
  22. "Coal-powered developments threaten Cambodia’s largest national park," China Dialogue, June 1, 2021

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