The Minister of Energy and Mines, Soulivong Daravong, presented the award, saying that Mr Katz had invested great effort in helping to transform the Nam Theun 2 Multi-Purpose Project from a construction site to a fully-functioning reality.
Mr Katz served as CEO of NTPC from 2007 to July 2011, during which time the company has begun delivering electricity to Lao and Thai consumers and implemented wide-ranging social and environmental programmes, such as funding for the protection of the Nakai-Nam Theun National Protected Area. According to Mr Soulivong, Nam Theun 2 is now contributing valuable income to the Lao government and to its mission of combating poverty across the country.
Mr Katz, who in April this year also received recognition from the French government for his work on Nam Theun 2, said the award of the Lao Friendship Medal was a great honour, and symbolic of the relationship between the project and many Lao people. He explained that people in the villages of Khammouane province, and government representatives at all levels, had made the job of developing Nam Theun 2 much easier than it could have been. Mr Katz added that “in Laos, friendship is extended so readily, so naturally and deeply, that it is truly something special”.
Michel Robino succeeded Mr Katz as the CEO of NTPC in July 2011.
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The Nam Theun 2 Power Company (NTPC) is the developer and operator of the Nam Theun 2 Multi-Purpose Project in the Lao PDR. The project is a public-private partnership designed to generate electricity for export to Thailand and domestic use in Laos. Revenues accruing to the Lao government during NTPC's concession period, estimated at over US$2 billion, are used to fund poverty alleviation in the country. Nam Theun 2 is structured as an industrial and a development project, placing great emphasis on protection of the environment and sustainable social programmes to improve the livelihoods of people in the project area. After 25 years of operation from April 30 2010, the project will be transferred to the Lao State. See www.namtheun2.com.