The SHWE Gas Movement: For a Sustainable Future in a Free and Democratic Burma

For a Sustainable Future in a Free and Democratic Burma

 

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The Shwe Project

The Shwe Project, a natural gas extraction plan currently unfolding off the coast of Arakan State in Western Burma, promises to be the Burmese military regime's largest source of foreign income. This is a brief outline of the Shwe Project. For a detailed timeline of Burma's devastating gas pipeline activities, please read the chronology of events section. For the most up-to-date news, check out our news section.

Drilling Operations
A Drilling Platform in the Bay of Bengal
A Drilling Platform in the Bay of Bengal.

In August 2000, Daewoo International signed a production sharing contract with the Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE), a wholly owned subsidiary of the Burmese military government.[1]

In little over three years, Daewoo announced it had discovered large deposits of gas in the A-1 or "Shwe-1" block. Daewoo estimates that Shwe-1 holds 4-6 trillion cubic feet of gas, which could produce yearly profits in the billions of United States Dollars, most of this going to the Burmese military government.

In addition to the A-1 block, Daewoo's exploration of two nearby regions may be able to secure an additional 7-12 tcf of gas. Daewoo has begun these exploratory drilling operations. [1]

Liquid Natural Gas

At Kyaukphyu in Arakan State, Western Burma, where a deep sea port is currently under construction, the potential for liquid natural gas production and export is becomming possible. While liquid natural gas may be a more environmentally friendly option than the proposed pipeline through Burma, Bangladesh and India, which reached the final stages of negotiations in early 2004 [2], the SHWE Gas Movement calls for the end to all gas sales until the Burmese peoples' voices can be heard democratically.

The Gas Pipeline

The Shwe Project's main objective is a three-nation gas pipeline, with the most likely route running from northern Arakan State in Western Burma along the banks of the Kaladan River into Chin State. The environmental destruction and military entrenchment from this section of the pipeline alone is inestimable, especially since no environmental impact assessments have been conducted and released by the Burmese military junta.

The Proposed Pipeline Route for the Shwe Project
The Proposed Pipeline Route for the Shwe Project.

From Chin State in Burma, the pipeline would cross into the Indian states of Mizoram and Tripura where it would link existing gas fields with the Shwe fields in the south and the energy-starved Indian subcontinent in the west.

In January 2005, Bangladesh--the only party still holding out on the three-country gas deal--agreed to allow the pipeline to run from Tripura through Bangladesh along existing road networks. The pipeline would end in the northeastern Indian city of Calcutta and serve the India's electricity, fertilizer, and compressed nature gas infrastructure needs.

According to a joint statement by the Bangladeshi, Burmese and Indian governments, the pipeline is aimed at "ensuring adequate access, maximum security and optimal economic utilization." [3]

Unfortunately, this pipeline will do little to benefit the freedom of movement, security, or economic situation of the mostly minority peoples of Burma (Specifically Chin and Arakan States) and northeast India (Mizoram and Tripura).

Moreover, the voiceless citizens of Burma were never asked if they wanted to sell their resources. Given that most western Burmese live without electricity and cook their meals with wood, this sell-off of their natural resources is unlikely to benefit them. Instead, as has been seen in past natural gas pipeline projects, this Shwe Project will only lead to further entrenchment of the military regime, environmental destruction, and and acceleration of ongoing human rights abuses inside Burma and along the pipeline corridor.

Learn More

Read more about the Shwe Project:

  • Chronology of Events: Events of importance in the Shwe Project.

  • Maps: Detailed maps of possible pipeline routes and the Shwe Project area. 

  • The Shwe Gas Wells: Reserve estimates, wells drilled, and other specifics.

More topics in this section:

  • The SHWE Gas Movement:  its history and its member organizations.
  • Campaign Goals: Why postponing the exploitation of this gas is a high priority for the people of Burma and the international community. 

Learn more about: 

  • SHWE Stakeholders: Parties with direct or indirect interest in the processes and outcomes of this development project.
  • The Issues: The four main issues driving the SHWE Gas Movement's campaign.
  • The Latest News: Stay abreast of the most recent SHWE Gas Movement-related news.

Take action:

  • Take Action: Learn what you can help stop the ongoing Shwe Project and help the people of Burma.

Sources

[1] www.daewoo.com

[2] http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2004-12/14/content_2332171.htm, Dec 14, 2004

[3] http://jang.com/pk/thenews/jan2005-daily/14-01-2005/business/b14.htm Jan 14, 2004

 

 
 
 
 

Current Drilling Activity:

The Frontier DuchessThe Frontier Duchess, one of the rigs off the Arakan coast, Western Burma

 

The Southern CrossThe Southern Cross, another rig operating off the Arakan coast, Western Burma. Both ships are contracted by South Korea's Daewoo International Corp.

 

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