A US$450 million gas-fired power plant in Vietnam built and owned by British energy giant BP and other foreign investors was officially opened yesterday. \nThe Phu My 3 power plant, located in the southern coastal province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau, south of Ho Chi Minh City, began commercial operations on Thursday. \nThe launch ceremony was attended by Vietnamese Prime Minister Phan Van Khai. \nThe plant has a design capacity of 716.8 megawatts and has raised Vietnam's power generation capacity by almost 10 percent, the Phu My 3 BOT Power Co Ltd said in a statement. \nThe plant, which is able to consume about 3 million cubic meters of gas per day at full load, is the first foreign-invested build-operate-transfer power plant in the communist nation. \nIt is equally owned by units of BP, Singapore's SembCorp Industries and the Japanese consortium of Kyushu Electric Power Co and Sojitz Corp. \n"We have been toiling day and night with an aim to bring the largest private sector power plant into operation to meet the increasing demand for power of the country and our mission has been accomplished," said Mary Shafer-Malicki, director general of BP Vietnam. \nThe plant, which took 26 months to build, is fueled by gas from the Nam Con Son basin, 370km of the coast, under a 20-year agreement with the state-owned PetroVietnam. \nAfter that, the plant will be handed over to the Vietnamese government. \nThe US$1.3 billion Nam Con Son project is led by BP PetroVietnam, India's ONGC Videsh and ConocoPhilips of the US are the other investors. \nElectricity demand has risen on average by 13 percent to 15 percent annually in the past few years in Vietnam creating urgent need for more infrastructure development. \nAccording to government estimates, about 70 billion kilowatts to 80 billion kilowatts of power will be needed in 2010, with the figure increasing to between 160 billion kilowatts and 200 billion kilowatts by 2020.
SELF-SUFFICIENCY: Alibaba is one of a number of Chinese firms that has answered Beijing’s call to invest in the development of cutting-edge technologies Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (阿里巴巴) yesterday unveiled a new server chip that is based on advanced 5-nanometer technology, marking a milestone in China’s pursuit of semiconductor self-sufficiency. The Chinese tech giant’s newest chip is based on micro-architecture provided by the SoftBank Group Corp-owned Arm Ltd, it said. Alibaba, which is holding its annual cloud summit in Hangzhou, China, said that the chip is to be used in its own data centers in the “near future” and would not, for the time being, be sold commercially. “Customizing our own server chips is consistent with our ongoing efforts toward boosting our computing capabilities with better
‘SHORT-TERM ECONOMIC PAIN’: A military takeover would only temporarily weigh on wafer production on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, IC Insights said Taiwan has more chip manufacturing capacity than any other economy in the world, US-based market information advisory firm IC Insights said in a research paper last week, cautioning that the nation’s strength could prompt China to attempt to take over Taiwan. Taiwan commanded 21.4 percent of global installed IC capacity, ahead of South Korea’s 20.4 percent, Japan’s 15.8 percent and China’s 15.3 percent, North America’s 12.6 percent and Europe’s 5.7 percent, IC Insights said. Taiwan is one of two countries that uses 10-nanometer technology or better to produce wafers, holding 62.8 percent of global capacity, with South Korea holding the remaining 37.2
AGGRESSIVE STEP: With the new processors, Apple is aiming at the high-end chips Intel has provided for the MacBook Pro and other top-end Macs for about 15 years Apple Inc on Monday took the most aggressive step yet to strip Intel Corp chips from its computers, announcing more powerful homegrown Mac processors alongside a total revamp of its MacBook Pro laptop computers. The company showcased the chips at an event called “Unleashed,” which also included its latest audio products. The new components, called the M1 Pro and M1 Max chips, are 70 percent faster than its M1 predecessors, Apple said. It also unveiled a redesigned MacBook Pro, adding larger screens, MagSafe charging and better resolution. With the new processors and devices, Apple is aiming squarely at the high-end chips that Intel has
PRICE SPREAD: Oil trading under the Brent futures contract is giving the US a hefty edge in pricing, increasing the rush to secure cheap fuel as winter approaches Asian demand for US oil is rising as the energy crisis boosts prices for other crudes that are priced against the global Brent futures contract. China and other Asian buyers have been snapping up supertankers of US oil for delivery next month and seeking more for December, some traders have said. Most buyers are seeking US grades that had recently slumped to the lowest levels in more than a year, with an added incentive after Beijing awarded millions of tonnes of crude oil import quotas. A wide spread between Brent and West Texas Intermediate (WTI) oil futures is accommodating higher US crude