Chronology of Oil and Gas Events in Burma


1988 to 2009

February 25, 2009
A planned swap of 20% stakes involving four of Burma’s oil and gas blocks between Thai PTTEP and China’s CNOOC is annulled, following inability by Burma’s regime to approve the deal on time. (Reuters)

December 24, 2008
The China National Petroleum Corporation signs a 30-year deal to purchase natural gas from the Shwe fields, the A-1 and A-3 blocks. Construction is set to start at the end of 2009 and for the gas to start flowing in 2013. (Irrawaddy New)

November 21, 2008
The construction of Myanmar-China Pipeline, with the total investment of $2.55 billion, is set to start in 2009, becoming China’s third overseas oil and gas pipeline from a foreign country. (China Stakes)

November 6, 2008
Daewoo International suspends off-shore exploration in the disputed waters between Burma and Bangladesh. (BD News)

October 4, 2008
Petrovietnam Exploration Production Corporation Ltd and the Joint Venture Vietsovpetro of Vietnam and Eden Group Co Ltd of Myanmar sign an oil and gas exploration contract with the state-run Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise. (Xinhua News)

October 3, 2008
Myanmar brings warships together with Daewoo International vessels to explore  for oil and gas exploration inside Bangladesh territory. In response the Bangladesh navy positions three navy ships and summons Myanmar representative to Dhaka. (The Daily Star)

September 10, 2008
A distribution contract for the Shwe natural gas is signed by four Chinese companies, led by the Petro China subsidiary Kunlun Gas Company which will hold 51% of the shares. The other three companies are Yunnan Investment Group, Kunming Gas Holding Company (Kunming Gas) and Yunnan Chang’an Investment Company. (China Knowledge News)

September 11, 2008
Myanmar and Nobel Oil of Russia signs an agreement to explore for oil and gas at two onshore blocks A and B-1 in Sagaing Division and Hukawng Valley of Kachin State. (Reuters)

September 3, 2008
Bangladesh claims it is set to hold  tripartite talks with India and Burma in order to end offshore gas dispute. (Zee News)

July 8, 2008
Burma enforces a contractual provision to reduce the stakes of ONGC Videsh from 20 per cent to 17 per cent and GAIL from 10 per cent to 8 per cent in the A-1 and A-3 Shwe blocks.  Burma’s Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise claims a 15% stake. (The Times of India)

June 20, 2008
China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), the Indo-Korean Shwe Consortium and the Burma regime sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the sale and transport of natural gas from the offshore blocks A-1 and A-3. (Xinhua News)

June 20, 2008
Bangladesh decides to end offshore gas dispute with India and Myanmar as  the state-run Petrobangla prepares a letter to be sent to New Delhi and Yangon seeking to hold tripartite talks immediately. (The Economic Times)

June 12, 2008
Daewoo International Corp. publicizes a tender for the joint development of three gas discoveries in Blocks A1 and A-3 offshore Burma, after confirming plans to sell the output to China. The tender includes the front-end engineering and designing, and engineering, procurement, installation and commissioning work on the production facilities, including a process and wellhead platform, an export pipeline and inter-field flow lines. (Energy Current)

June 5, 2008

Indian Cabinet clears the signing of a decade-long investment pact with military-ruled Burma as part of efforts to woo its energy-rich neighbor, approving a bilateral investment promotion and protection agreement with the government of Myanmar. (The Economic Times)

May 30, 2008
China’s CNPC and South Korean Daewoo International signs and , Korea sign Myanmar energy exploration deal Myanmar officials have also said the gas will go to China and Beijing says it is considering building gas and oil pipelines into southwestern Yunnan province. Myanmar has at least 90 trillion cubic feet of gas reserves and 3.2 billion barrels of recoverable crude oil reserves in 19 onshore and three major offshore fields. Altogether, 25 offshore blocks are under exploration. (Reuters)

May 5, 2008
Essar Exploration and Production Ltd. will start drilling in Myanmar this October at the end of 2008, after the passing of the seasonal monsoon. The Indian operator intends to drill up to two exploration wells in offshore Block A2. (Energy Current)

13 February, 2008
China’s largest offshore oil producer CNOOC claims that it has agreed to swap stakes in two natural gas projects in Burma with Thailand’s PTT Exploration and Production. PTTEP will exchange 20 percent of its shares in each of the M3 and M4 projects for the same stake of CNOOC’s share in the A4 and C1 projects. (The Standard News)

December 5, 2007
South Korean Daewoo International announces that it has picked China as a preferred bidder for natural gas from its project in Myanmar. (Reuters)

December 2, 2007
China National Petroleum Corp. signs an agreement with the southwestern province of Yunnan to cooperate in oil refining, a step toward building an oil pipeline to neighboring Myanmar. (AP News)

September 23, 2007
While the saffron uprising is taking place throughout Burma, sparked off by increased fuel prices, ONGC Videsh signs a $150 million contract  for exploration of oil and gas deepwater blocks AD-2, AD-3 and AD-9 in Arakan State. (ONGC)

August 23, 2007
Daewoo International states that its gas reserves in Myanmar the blocks in the Bay of Bengal near the border with Bangladesh have been certified to hold up to 219.2 billion cubic meters of exploitable gas from three offshore natural gas fields in Myanmar. (AFP News)

August 16, 2008
Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dinsha Patel confirms that India will continue to make all efforts for import of natural gas and liquefied natural gas from Burma. (UPI News)

August 16, 2007
Burma announces it will sell gas from its A-1 and A-3 blocks to China. (Asia News)

July 29, 2007
Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and the Petroleum Ministry triggered a spat over India’s loss of Burma gas to China. (The Indian Express)

July 18, 2007
Indian state-run gas firm GAIL claims that it will not buy from Burma’s A-7 block as its prospects are poor, but will keep its stakes in two other gas fields. (The Economic Times)

May 16, 2007
ONGC Limited decides to leave Indo-Myanmar gas pipeline project following Chinese influence on military administration in Burma. (Mizzima News)

May 9, 2007
State-run Gas Authority of India Ltd (GAIL) states that its project with Burma to source 3.5 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas (LNG) per annum has run into problems. (Indiaprwire/Business News)

April 21, 2007
Chinese oil giant Sinopec announces that construction of the China-Myanmar oil pipeline is expected to start this year. No timetable for the completion of the pipeline has been provided. (Xinhua News)

March 26, 2007
Campaigners urge Daewoo and India to halt arms sales to Burma. Activists and campaigners in 15 counties condemn Korea’s Daewoo Corporation and Indian partners for alleged sale of military hardware to the Burmese military junta in exchange of gas contracts. (Mizzima News)

February 1, 2007
India is yet to decide on Burma’s proposal for rupee payment terms for petroleum products the Southeast Asian country imports. (Earth Times News)

January 19, 2007
A spokesperson for Burma’s Ministry of Energy claims that it will not decide on exporting gas to India until  May, after it gets the reserves in its offshore areas certified. (The Financial Express)

January 15, 2007
The Chinese Oil Company CNPC signs contracts in the Burmese capital  with the Myanmar Ministry of Energy on conducting crude oil and natural gas exploration at three deep-sea blocks off the South Asian country’s western Rakhine coast, AD-1, AD-6 and AD-8. (Xinhua News Agency)

December 21, 2006
ONGC CMD Subir Raha considers setting up a power plant in Myanmar, saying that it would not only generate huge employment in Myanmar, but also negate the risks of laying a pipeline. Sources say that the ONGC-GAIL combine can look at a 1,000 mw power project. “ONGC is seriously considering the possibility now,” a senior ONGC executive said. (The Hindu Business Standard)

December 19, 2006
State-owned GAIL (India) Ltd bids for sourcing 3.5 million tonnes per annum of (LNG) from Myanmar in addition to a bid for sourcing natural gas via a pipeline from block A-1 and A-3 to India through the northeast. “As indicated in DFR, the length of the possible pipeline from Myanmar border to Gaya (Bihar) is about 1,573 km and the project cost is estimated at Rs.85 billion. (RXPG News)

December 6, 2006
GAIL signs a 30% stake in a production sharing contract with the regime for exploration rights in Burma’s  A-7 offshore block. GAIL is partnering with the Singapore-based Russian Oil and Gas company Silver Wave Energy. (The Economic Times)

June 16, 2006
Daewoo International announces that the Mya-1 well in the A-3 block can deliver 57.6 million cubic feet of gas per day and that the Shwephyu well in A-1 can deliver 42.5 million cubic feet of gas per day.

March 9, 2006
An MOU for sales of natural gas from Burma to India is signed by Indian President APJ Abdul Kalam and SPDC’s General Than Shwe.

January 11, 2006
It is announced that Burma’s Ministry of Energy has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with PetroChina for the sale of 6.5 trillion cubic feet (tcf) over 30 years.

October 3, 2005
Indian companies GAIL and ONGC Videsh sign 10% and 20% stakes respectively in Daewoo’s PSC in the A-3 block.

May 9, 2005
Myanmar signs energy contracts with Indian Essar Oil Ltd., allowing the Indian company to explore for oil and natural gas at offshore and onshore blocks in western Rakhine State.

March 7, 2005
Burma’s military government bars foreign firms from onshore oil and gas exploration and production, opting to reserve the operations for state enterprises.

January 6, 2005

ONGC Videsh Limited announces gas in the first appraisal well in the Shwe gas field in Block A-1, Myanmar, 7.8 kilometers away from the first exploratory well, where the Consortium discovered gas in January last year. The Consortium claims that it will drill additional exploratory and appraisal wells at the Shwe Phyu and Ngwe prospects simultaneously using one more rig from late January 2005.

November 10, 2004
Exploratory drilling starts in well Shwe-2 in the A-1 Block.

November 10, 2004
The International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) claims that forced labour on construction of roads and military barracks continues to be imposed routinely and includes evidence of forced labour in Rakhine and Chin States. (ICFTU)

November 2004

The ILO interim liaison officer in Burma, Richard Horsey reports to the ILO Governing body in Geneva that despite SPDC making forced labour illegal in Burma, “To date, no official in Myanmar had been found guilty of imposing forced labour, even though it was recognized that the practice continued. Even more concerning was the fact that in some cases action had been taken by the authorities against complainants. The current state of affairs would inevitably cast doubt on the credibility of the Committee and its work, and on the political will of the authorities to seriously address the problem.” (ILO)

October 17, 2004

SPDC’s Prime Minister and head of the military intelligence, Gen Khin Nyunt is purged by the head of the SPDC, Gen Than Shwe and much of the Khin Nyunt controlled intelligence apparatus is immediately dismantled. (Irrawaddy) Although few major changes are expected on the whole, a more hard line approach with even poorer diplomacy skills is likely.

October 5, 2004
Daewoo and ONGC Videsh sign an MOU to jointly explore gas in the A-3 Block off the Arakan coast in the Bay of Bengal. (Rigzone)

October 2004
A consortium comprising two Chinese and one Singaporean companies signs a production-sharing contract (PSC) with MOGE for gas and oil exploration rights in the onshore Block M (7,760 sq-km) in Kyauk Pru Township, Arakan State. (Rigzone)

June 2004

The ILO interim liaison officer in Burma, Richard Horsey reports to the ILO Governing body in Geneva that, “Forced labour continues to be exacted in many parts of the country, mainly by the army. No person responsible for imposing forced labour has ever been prosecuted or sentenced under the relevant provision of the Penal Code.” (ILO)

April 20, 2004

Daewoo International announces that it is to invest US$54 million of a $90 million budget July 2004-June 2005. This would include six appraisal borings and two exploration drillings and a project office with 30 staff. (Daewoo)

April 15, 2004

The United Nations Commission for Human Rights, releases a resolution that “Expresses its grave concern..

Extrajudicial killings, rape and other forms of sexual violence persistently carried out by members of the armed forces, continuing use of torture, renewed instances of political arrests and continuing detentions, including of prisoners whose sentences have expired, prisoners held incommunicado while awaiting trial, forced relocation, destruction of livelihoods and confiscations of land by the armed forces, forced labour, including child labour, trafficking of persons, denial of freedom of assembly, association, expression and movement, discrimination and persecution on the basis of religious or ethnic background, wide disrespect for the rule of law and lack of independence of the judiciary, unsatisfactory conditions of detention, systematic use of child soldiers and violations to the rights to an adequate standard of living, such as the rights to food, medical care and education.” (UNCHR)

February 2004
Daewoo International signs a Production Sharing Contract (PSC) with the regime for exploration rights in the A-3 block. (Blonnet)

January 15, 2004

Daewoo International announces that it has found gas in the A-1 block, naming the well Shwe-1, describing it as a 58 meter wide layer of natural gas found at a depth of 2,930-2,988m. Daewoo estimates that Shwe-1 holds 4-6 trillion cubic feet of gas and that exploration of two nearby regions may be able to secure additional 7-12 tcf of gas. (Daewoo)

November 21, 2003
The offshore drilling machine “The Energy Searcher,” owned by Norwegian company Northern Offshore, starts drilling in A-1.

June 2003
In Burma, on any given day, several hundred thousand men, women, children

and elderly are forced to work against their will by the country’s military rulers. Forced labour can include building army camps, roads, bridges, railroads etc. Refusal to work may lead to being detained, tortured, raped or killed.

Statement by the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU)

May 30, 2003
A convoy carrying Aung San Suu Kyi and other senior NLD leaders, is attacked by military sponsored thugs in Dapayin, northern Burma, possibly killing up to 70 people. Aung San Su Kyi and party secretary Tin Oo are  put under “protective custody” and all senior NLD officers are placed under house arrest. Party offices are closed and the party’s phone lines are cut. (Irrawaddy)

February 5, 2003
A statement by the Arakan Independence Alliance in response to the Daewoo-led consortiums plans to start exploratory drilling later in the year.

It is feared that, when these projects are materialized, it will cause a lot of trouble for the local people, both in Arakan and Chin State, particularly with the increase in deployment of Burmese armed forces under the pretext of guarding the pipeline, increased forced relocation, forced labor, summery execution, torture and other human rights violations, destruction of forests and natural environment will occur.” (Burma Net)

November2002
Following considerable pressure from shareholders, consumers and the international community, British Premier Oil sells all its stakes in Burma, mainly the Yetagun gas field and pipeline. (Asia Times)

January 2002
Part Indian government owned corporations ONGC Videsh and GAIL, Ltd purchase 20% and 10% respectively of the stake in A-1 from Daewoo International.

November 2001
Korean Gas Corporation, KOGAS, purchases 10% of the stake in A-1 from Daewoo International.

November, 2000
The military regime officially makes forced labour illegal in Burma. (ILO)

August 2000
Daewoo International signs a Production sharing Contract (PSC) for the offshore A-1 block with the Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE). (Daewoo)

June 2000
The annual ILO Conference adopts a Resolution calling on its constituents (Governments, Employers, and Trade Unions), the UN and other multilateral agencies to review relations with Burma and cease any relations that might aid its military junta to abet forced labour. (ICFTU)

May 2000

The Yetagun pipeline opens to transport of gas to the Thai power plant in Ratchaburi, now receiving 525 million cubic feet per day (Mmcfd) from Yadana ad Yetagun according to the original contract.

November 1998

Smaller amounts of gas from the Yadana field is transported to a gas fired power plant in Ratchaburi, Thailand, run by the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT). (IEEJ)

March 1997
A U.S. federal district court in Los Angeles agrees to hear the lawsuit filed against Unocal [for human rights abuses at the Yadana/Yetagun projects], concluding that corporations and their executive officers can be held legally responsible for violations of international human rights norms in foreign countries, and that U.S. courts have the authority to adjudicate such claims. (Earth Rights International)

October 1995
Yadana/Yetagun: Infrastructure and offshore pipeline construction starts. (Earth Rights International)

February, 1995
Yadana/Yetagun: Villagers are forced to start clearing a 300-ft-wide path for the pipeline and accompanying roadway. (Earth Rights International)

July-December, 1994
Yadana/Yetagun: A series of onshore and offshore environmental and cultural impact assessments are implemented, but results kept confidential. (Earth Rights International)

Early 1993

Yadana/Yetagun: The French company Total begins exploratory drilling in four test well that eventually establish the commercial viability of the Yadana field (Earth Rights International)

October 1991
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize

1990
Myanmar Daewoo Electronics Co., Ltd. is established as a joint venture agreement between Myanmar Heavy Industries and Daewoo Electronics Co., Ltd. and Daewoo Corporation (Daewoo Group) of South Korea.

May 1990
Premier Oil is the first international corporation to sign an offshore contract with the military regime, since the 1988 democracy uprising. (Following international pressure and financial losses, it sells its stakes in November 2003 to Malaysian Petronas) (Asia Times)

May 1990
Elections are held in Burma and 82% of the parliamentary seats are won by the National League for Democracy (NLD), led by Aung San Suu Kyi. [The parliament has to date not been allowed to convene, by the military regime]

September 1988
The military cracks down on pro-democracy movements throughout Burma, killing thousands of unarmed demonstrators.