Aliambata Gas Seep Electricity Generation
21 April 2009
[links embedded in the text below lead to specific documents related to the Aliambata project.]
At Aliambata, near the south coast in Viqueque district, natural gas seeps out of the ground and has been burning for as long as anyone can remember. For more than five years, authorities here have discussed using the energy from this gas to power a small electric generating plant which could provide a few hundred kilowatts to nearby communities. Click here for a 2004 ADB summary of the possible project.
The project has been plagued with problems and delays from the beginning. In 2005, the Government asked the World Bank to develop it with funds remaining in the Trust Fund for East Timor (TFET) (see 2005 page on Bank website), and some activities have started. In 2006, for example, Resettlement and Environmental Management Plans were drafted.
The total combined sources funding approved for this project is nearly two million U.S. dollars.
The 2008 donor registry includes $850,000 from TFET to the Ministry of Infrastructure "To assist the Government of Timor-Leste in determining the technical and economic viability of harvesting seep gas from natural gas seeps to produce reliable and affordable power for isolated rural communities." The aid money supports Aliambata as a pilot project, to start in May 2007 and finish by the end of 2009. During 2008, $49,000 was budgeted from this assistance project, but only $26,000 was spent.
The 2008 original and rectified state budgets allocated $400,000 of for 2008 and $579,000 for 2009 from government funds. None of the $400,000 was spent in 2008, and it was re-appropriated in the 2009 budget. In addition, the $579,000 previously planned for 2009 expenditures was increased to $746,000. This Government funding is on top of the TFET money.
The Ministries of Finance and Infrastructure have tried three times to find a company to build the power distribution system for this project. In September 2008, the Ministry of Finance circulated an Invitation to Bid for the project, but it was later withdrawn. A new tender process was begun on 25 February 2009, with a deadline of 31 March. On 17 April, the Ministry of Finance cancelled the bid round had been "Due to the bid proposal submitted was not conformity with Ministry of Finance Procurement procedures. Therefore, we are sorry to announce the cancellation of the above mentioned tender. We regret the inconvenience the cancellation may cause to our esteemed Bidders."
On 17 April 2009, the Ministry circulated a slightly different version inviting "sealed proposal from invited Company for Design, Supply and Installation of Aliambata Power Distribution System", with a deadline of 8 May 2009. [Click here for the original 10MB document on the MoF website -- La'o Hamutuk shrank the file and copied it to our website for permanence and ease of downloading.] A site visit is scheduled for 22-23 April, and a pre-bid meeting on the 24th.
The Technical Specifications and Scope of Work for the Distribution Project include the following:
The Timor-Leste Institute for Development Monitoring and Analysis (La’o Hamutuk)