Myanmar to grant more blocks for offshore gas exploration
July 30, 2005
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Myanmar will grant 13 new blocks in the country's offshore areas for foreign investment in oil and gas exploration and production, a local weekly reported Saturday.
The new blocks include eight in the gulf of Mottama and five off the Rakhine coast, project officials of the Ministry of Energy was quoted by the 7-Day News as saying.
The country has designated a total of about 600 blocks 320 kilometers within Myanmar territorial waters for oil and gas exploration, of which 25 are under exploration. Of the 25, 12 are located in the gulf of Mottma, six off the Tanintharyi coast and seven off the Rakhine coast.
Since Myanmar opened to foreign investment in the sector in 1988, oil companies from a dozen countries have stepped in. Outstanding investments in the area include the Yadana gas field project in the gulf of Mottama and the Yetagun one off the Tanintharyi coast.
The Yadana involves multi-national companies of PTTEP (Thailand), TOTAL (France), UNOCAL (the United States) and MOGE (Myanmar), while the Yetagun includes PTTEP (Thailand), Petronas (Malaysia), Nippon (Japan) and MOGE (Myanmar).
Sale of gas produced from the two fields to Thailand has been underway for years.
Early last year, huge natural gas deposit, estimated to yield up to 14 TCF (396.2 billion cubic-meters) of gas, was found at Block A-1 of the Rakhine coast. It had been explored since 2000 bya consortium comprising South Korea's Daewoo, South Korea Gas Corporation, the ONGC Videsh Ltd of India and the Gas Authority ofIndia.
Sale of gas from the field to India and the way of transmission of the gas is under negotiation, which also involves Bangladesh.
Another consortium made up of Chinese and Singaporean companies are also engaged in oil and gas exploration in some onshore and offshore areas.
Myanmar has a total of 87 trillion cubic-feet (TCF) or 2.46 trillion cubic meters (TCM) ) of gas reserve and 3.2 billion barrels of recoverable crude oil reserve.
Official statistics show that Myanmar produced 9.9 billion cubic-meters (BCM) of gas and 7.16 million barrels of crude oil in2003-04. Gas export during the year went to 5.66 BCM, earning nearly 600 million dollars, while crude oil import was worth 13.18million dollars the same year.
Latest figures reveal that in the first eight months (April-November) of 2004-05, gas output went to 6.93 BCM and crude oil production 4.87 million barrels. Gas export during the period stood at 3.78 BCM with 422 million dollars fetched.
Since Myanmar opened to foreign investment in late 1988, such investment in the oil and gas sector had reached 2.5 billion dollars as of the beginning of 2004, the figures also disclose. Foreign oil companies engaged in the oil and gas sector mainly include those from Australia, Britain, Canada, China, Indonesia, India, South Korea, Malaysia and Thailand.
Myanmar, abundant with natural gas resources, stands at a position to become a main gas exporting country in Asia, observersview.