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SHWE Gas Movement News

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India gets breather for Myanmar gas supply

ANUPAMA AIRY
From NEW DELHI
Friday, January 27, 2006
link to this article.

Giving India a breather, Myanmar has said it is open to initiating a fresh dialogue for selling gas to New Delhi from its offshore A-1 block. Asking India to furnish details of its exact plan to evacuate gas from the A-1 block, Myanmar has clarified that its memorandum of understanding (MoU) with China for selling gas is a general one, and Yangon is under no contractual obligation to sell gas from the A-1 block to China.
This assumes significance as earlier, following the delay in signing of the tri-partite agreement between Myanmar, Bangladesh and India for the gas pipeline project, Myanmar had gone ahead and inked an MoU with China in November for evacuating gas. Beijing had assured Yangon that it would lay the pipeline in a timely manner.
Alongside, officials disclosed that the outstanding issues pertaining to the signing of the trilateral MoU on the Myanmar-Bangladesh-India gas pipeline project would now be resolved at the highest level. Dhaka is insisting that New Delhi incorporate certain bilateral trade issues in the MoU that are not directly related to the gas pipeline project.
The Bangladesh Prime Minister is expected to visit New Delhi in March this year when the Prime Ministers of the two countries will look into the unresolved matters about the project.
Senior petroleum ministry officials said the Myanmar energy minister had earlier categorically told to a visiting Indian delegation as recent as January 9-10 that while the MoU with the Chinese did not mention any particular gas block, Yangon had decided to sell the A-1 block gas to the Chinese for monetising this gas at the earliest. Officials added despite a strong request from India, the minister had refused to reconsider his position.
However, the petroleum ministry received a communique from its Ambassador in Yangon on January 17 that he had met the Myanmar energy minister and Yangon is willing to discuss commercial and contractual terms of the gas sale with New Delhi. " The Myanmar side has, however, reiterated that they would like to have a clear presentation from India about their plan to evacuate the gas to India in a time-bound manner," an official said.

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Myanmar gas sale to India with a rider

AMITAV RANJAN
From NEW DELHI
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
link to this article.

All is not lost for India on the eastern front. Myanmar is reconsidering sale of natural gas to India, a step that would rekindle the prospects of a Myanmar-Bangladesh-India pipeline project.
Last Tuesday, Indian Ambassador in Yangon R K Bhatia persuaded Myanmar Energy Minister Lun Thi to come back to the negotiating table for sale of gas from Block A-1 to India instead of China. Myanmar, according to Bhatia, has now become "more accommodative" and has expressed "willingness to discuss commercial and contractual terms of the gas sale-purchase with the Indian side". The rider is that New Delhi must provide a clear indication to Yangon about its plan to evacuate this gas to India in a "time-bound manner". India has also been told that Myanmar is under "no contractual obligation to sell A-1 block gas to China" as the MoU with PetroChina did not mention any particular gas block.
Lun Thi had informed a india's Petroleum Ministry that Myanmar had decided to sell A-1 gas to PetroChina with a view to monetising this gas at the earliest. The MoU was for sale of 6.5 trillion cubic feet of gas from its A-1 Block for 30 years.
Myanmar said it signed the MoU with PetroChina because no progress had been achieved in the tripartite agreement between Myanmar, Bangladesh and India for the proposed pipeline project, whereas the Chinese had assured that they would lay their pipeline on time. (According to a status paper, the outstanding issues with Bangladesh on the pipeline is expected to be resolved when its Prime Minister visits India in March.)
The gas supply from A-1 is important since Petroleum Minister MS Aiyar plans to build a 290-km pipeline from Myanmar's west coast through Bangladesh to bring the gas to India's east coast. Another importance is that the A-1 gas is equity gas for India with ONGC Videsh Ltd and GAIL (India) Ltd holding 30 per cent in the joint venture for exploration and production. Block operator Daewoo and Korea Gas hold 60 per cent and 10 per cent, respectively. Last month, Myanmar had sent a feeler to New Delhi asking Aiyar to visit Yangon in the first week of January.

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Burmese military junta makes sudden turnaround on

From Narinjara News
1/17/2006
link to this article.

The Burmese military junta recently informed the Bangladeshi company, Mohona Holdings Limited, responsible for building the Burma-Bangladesh-India gas pipeline, that it intends to export gas from A-2 block instead of A-l block, due to a recent deal with China to export gas from A-1 block. The decision was made in response to the long delays associated with the tri-nation gas pipeline project. The junta is yet to officially inform its Indian counterparts neither about the new deal with China, nor about its intention to switch to A2 block to supply India.The tri-nation gas pipeline project was initiated in 1997 by Mohana Holdings Limited to carry natural gas from Burma to India through Bangladesh on a Build-Own-Operate (BOO) basis. The three parties are now close to reaching an agreement concerning the project, especially after the recent implementation of the South Asian Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) across all SAARC
countries. SAFTA has paved the way for Bangladesh's conditions surrounding the project to be met. The three countries have held many meetings since 1997 to hammer out a framework for the pipeline project, only for the Burmese junta to suddenly change its mind and make a deal with China. Furthermore, exporting gas from A-2 block to India will entail an additional 150kms of pipeline. This latest move is expected to damage relations between Burma and India and between Burma and Bangladesh, as the entire project is now in jeopardy. As always, the junta has been cleverly playing off the two most powerful Asian countries, China and India, against each other, and exploiting any opportunities that arise. It is standard practice for the military junta to violate agreements and hold the international community as well as its neighbors in contempt.

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Myanmar generals delighted to meet Asia's fuel needs

From AFP,BANGKOK
Monday, Jan 16, 2006
link to this article.

Despite growing frustration in Southeast Asia over Myanmar's politics, the nation's neighbors are still eagerly eyeing its energy resources -- and spending billions in the process.

A combination of sanctions and domestic political pressure prevent most Western companies from tapping into Myanmar's reserves.

But Asian countries have shown no such qualms, even though Myanmar's human rights record and its failure to deliver on promised democratic reforms have increasingly become a thorn in the side of the region.

The UN Security Council last month held an unprecedented briefing on Myanmar to signal to its military rulers that they must stop stalling on genuine democratic reforms.

ASEAN followed that up with unusually tough talk at its annual summit, and said it would send an envoy to evaluate the situation, only to have the generals postpone the trip last week.

Yet Myanmar's neighbors -- especially Thailand -- are increasingly turning to it to solve their energy problems at home, and throwing the generals an economic lifeline.

"With the US sanctions, you block the US companies, but there's plenty of others to come in the wake," said Andrew Symon, a researcher at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore.

"The South Asian, Southeast Asian companies, they've got the capital, they've got the technology" to tap Myanmar's resources on their own, he said.

Thailand is the biggest buyer of Myanmar's exports, spending some US$1.1 billion in 2004, accounting for one third of the country's exports, according to the Asian Development Bank.

Bangkok's most notable purchase is Myanmar's natural gas, which makes up more than 20 percent of Thailand's total supply, Symon said.

"These gas exports to Thailand would be far and away [Myanmar's] largest export earner," he said.

That gas comes mainly from the Yetagun field -- operated by Malaysia's Petronas, Japan's Nippon Oil and Thailand's PTTEP -- and the Yadana field run by France's Total, US firm Unocal and PTTEP.

But PTTEP last Tuesday announced that Myanmar would receive the bulk of the company's overseas investments in the next five years, as it develops three more natural gas projects in the Gulf of Mataban as part of a US$5.8 billion regional investment scheme.

On Myanmar's western coast on the Bay of Bengal, a consortium led by South Korea's Daewoo has announced that the Shwe field it operates was verified with reserves roughly equivalent to the Yetagun field.

Daewoo said it would begin talks with potential gas buyers later this year, but China and India are already exploring the possibility of building pipelines to carry the gas to their energy-hungry economies.

Energy sources in Yangon said PetroChina and Myanmar's energy ministry signed a deal on Nov. 7 agreeing to consider building a pipeline that would carry natural gas from the Shwe field directly to China.

India has been working on a separate proposal to pipe the gas across Bangladesh, but has run into problems negotiating the deal with Dhaka.

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Gas pipeline to go ahead: Burma

Siddique Islam
From Mizzima News
January 16, 2006
link to this article.

Burmese officials have said they would still supply gas to India through the proposed tri-nation pipeline despite a deal with PetroChina.

Burmese authorities told Mohona Holdings Limited, a Bangladeshi company that initiated the pipeline project in 1997, the deal was still on.

"Burma is still in a position to supply gas to the proposed tri-nation gas pipeline project but would not like to lose out while waiting for India and Bangladesh to agree on a simple understanding," the Managing Director of the Mohona Holdings Limited, K B Ahmed, told Mizzima after receiving world from Burmese officials.

While India, Bangladesh and Burma had agreed to go ahead with the US $1 billion natural gas pipeline from Arakan State in Burma through Bangladesh to Kolkata, India, little progress was made after India and Bangladesh could not see eye to eye on the fine print of the deal.

Ahmed told Mizzima the cost of the pipeline would increase after Burma's deal with PetroChina for the A-1 block, as the gas would have to come from a different block meaning the pipeline would have to be longer.

The next closest block to Bangladesh is the A-2 block, which, if chosen as the source for the export deal, would require the pipeline to be at least 150 km longer.

News of China and Burma's deal for 6.5 trillion cubic feet of gas broke when Indian Petroleum Ministry Joint Secretary Ajay Tyagi cut short a trip to Rangoon this month after Burmese authorities told him PetroChina had outbid India.

The Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister of India, Mani Sankar Aiyar, had planned a visit to Rangoon later this month to discuss the tri-nation gas pipeline, sources in the oil-industry said.

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India's bid to buy gas from Myanmar fails

From BDNEWS,DHAKA
January 14, 2006
link to this article.

India's bid to purchase gas from Blocks A-1 and A-2 of Myanmar went in vain as both the sides failed to reach consensus on the price of gas.

Moreover, Myanmar signed an agreement with the Chinese National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) and its Hong Kong-based partner to sell about 6.8 trillion cubic feet (TCF) gas from the two blocks. As per the contract, Myanmar would get US$ 4.85 for every thousand cubic feet gas.

The future of the proposed tri-nation pipeline is put under question as Myanmar and China reached an accord over the gas, which was meant to be supplied to India.

KB Ahmed, managing director of the Mohona Holdings Limited, the organisation which took initiative for the project said that there would not be any difficulty in implementing the tri-nation pipeline project if Bangladesh and India reach an agreement in this regard and India buys gas in International market coming out of its political and bureaucratic tangles.

KB Ahmed said Myanmar has to sell gas to Mohona Holdings Ltd for exporting it to India. He said that Myanmar has a reserve of about 18 to 20 TCF gas. They would provide gas to Mohona from their reserve for exporting it to India.

There was no specific agreement over supplying gas from the blocks A-1 and A-2 to India. But initially it was apprehended that gas would be supplied to India from the blocks as two Indian companies, ONGC and Gail, have 30 per cent shares in the two blocks.

Myanmar recently signed an agreement with the CNPC to sell 6.8 TCF gas in next 30 years. CNPC has 60 per cent shares while a Hong Kong-based Chinese company has 40 percent share of it.

It is learnt that earlier the dialogue between India and Myanmar over fixing the price of gas went in vain. India proposed to give US$ 3.5 to Myanmar for every thousand cubic feet gas. Turning down India's offer, Myanmar accepted the proposal placed by the CNPC.

On the other hand, Myanmar has been selling per thousand cubic feet gas to Thailand at US$ 4.35.

As per the contract, CNPC will provide US$ 85 million to Myanmar for the development of the gas wells. Besides, Myanmar will also be provided with US$ 500 million by China for building a specialised economic zone in Akyab (Sittwe).

Myanmar sources said that, though about a year has already elapsed after the meeting of the energy ministers of the three nations over the tri-nation pipeline, Bangladesh and India are yet to reach any agreement in this regard. On the other hand, India is reluctant to pay the real price of gas. Under the circumstances, Myanmar had no other option than signing an agreement with the CNPC in this regard.

The source also said that Myanmar is ready to supply gas from its other sources if an agreement is reached over the tri-nation pipeline and India expresses its eagerness to buy gas at real price.

It may be mentioned that India agreed in principle to accept the three conditions placed by Bangladesh against the use of its lands in laying the pipeline.

During the Bangladesh visit of Indian Petroleum Minister Mani Shankar Iyer, it was claimed that significant progress was made between the two countries over the issue. But no final agreement was made in this regard in the last four months.

Energy Adviser Mahmudur Rahman told the journalists from time to time that they are waiting for a positive response from India

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Daewoo finds new natural gas reserve in Burma

Kanyamaw
From Mizzima News
January 13, 2006
link to this article.

South Korea's Daewoo International has discovered a new natural gas deposit near a section of Burma's offshore A-3 block.

While sections of the Asian media have called the find 'huge', a Daewoo spokesperson told Mizzima the exact size of the newly-found field was unknown.

"We drilled and found the gas but the estimated size of the new gas reserve is not known yet. We will do some more exploration near that structure and maybe we can say about the size . . . by the end of this year or in 2007 and we can say how deep it is," the spokesman said.

Daewoo International, which holds a 60 percent stake in the A-3 block, is working with its partners to explore and develop the new gas field.

Other stakeholders in the field are the Korea Gas Corporation and India's state-run ONGC and GAIL.

Daewoo has been widely condemned for its exploitation of gas reserves in Burma by environmentalists and human rights activists

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Pipeline future unclear after Burma reneges on India gas deal

Siddique Islam
From Mizzima News
January 11, 2006
link to this article.

The fate of the proposed tri-nation pipeline to carry natural gas from Burma through Bangladesh to India has become uncertain after Burma backed away from a deal to supply India with the fuel.

The Burmese Ministry of Energy instead signed a memorandum of understanding with China's PetroChina on December 7 for the sale of 6.5 trillion cubic feet of gas from Burma's A-1 block in the next 30 years.

The deal between Burma and China has caused a severe blow to India's efforts to import gas from Burma through the proposed tri-nation gas pipeline project, which was also due to carry gas from the A-1 block.

"The future of the gas pipeline project has become uncertain as the Burmese authorities concerned signed this MoU with a Chinese company," an oil-industry expert told Mizzima in Dhaka today.

The pipeline project, to carry natural gas from Burma through Bangladesh into India, was initiated by Mohona Holdings Limited in 1997.

But after beating Indian firms in overseas oil field acquisitions three times in the past five months, Hong Kong-listed PetroChina has bagged an agreement to buy gas from the block explored and operated by Daewoo, ONGCL Videsh Ltd (OVL), KOGAS and GAIL.

Quoting an industry official, the Indian media reported Ajay Tyagi, joint secretary for gas in the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas cut short his trip to Burma after military authorities said they had sealed a deal with China.

Sources said the vice chairman of PetroChina and Burma's energy minister signed the agreement to sell 6.5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas from the A-1 block in the next 30 years. The gas will be transported via a pipeline to Kunming.

Commercial production from the A-1 block, home to the Shwe field that alone has been assessed by Houston-based consulting firm Ryder Scott Co as containing between 2.88 trillion cubic feet and 3.56 trillion cubic feet, was expected to commence by 2009.

New Delhi had also planned to use the $1.0 billion, 290km pipeline to bring stranded gas in the north east to major consumption centres

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Despite feeler, Myanmar gas goes to China

AMITAV RANJAN
From NEW DELHI
Wednesday, January 11, 2006
link to this article.

NEW DELHI, JANUARY 10: As Petroleum Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar left for China today to push for co-operation in bidding for oil and gas assets abroad, came a reality check from next door: Myanmar has declined gas supply to India--crucial for the Myanmar-Bangladesh-India pipeline--and, instead, tied up with a Chinese firm.

This, when more than a month ago, on December 7, Myanmar had sent a feeler to New Delhi.

That day, its Energy Ministry signed an MoU with PetroChina for sale 6.5 trillion cubic feet of gas from its AI Block for 30 years but Minister Lun Thi had told New Delhi that he was awaiting an Aiyar visit to Yangon in the first week of January.

This message was sent via Mak Patel, a Yangon-based consultant for ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL). In A1 Block, OVL and GAIL (India) Ltd are in a joint venture with block operator Daewoo and Korea Gas for exploration and production of gas. The Indian combine has 30 per cent, Daewoo 60 per cent and Korea Gas the remaining 10 per cent.

But despite Myanmar's feeler on an Aiyar visit, the Petroleum Ministry sent Joint Secretary Ajay Tyagi to Yangon on Sunday. He returned this evening with the news of the China tie-up.

While Aiyar was en route to China, his officials were not available to comments.

The gas supply from A-1 is important to India since Aiyar had planned to build a 290-km pipeline from Myanmar's west coast through Bangladesh to bring the gas to India's east coast. This Myanmar-Bangladesh-India pipeline was also expected to pool isolated gas in the northeast.

Decision to back track 'quite deliberate'

New Delhi: India today said it had no regrets of giving away to arch rival China a Nigerian oil field which its flagship ONGC Videsh Ltd had won defeating Chinese firm Cnooc, saying the asset was too risky.

The Cabinet had last month stopped OVL, the overseas arm of state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC), from acquiring 45 per cent stake in Nigeria's OML 130 oil area, also known as the Akpo field, which would have given the energy-hungry nation 3.5 million tonnes of crude oil annually for 20 years.

Petroleum Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar said the decision to back-off the deal at the last minute was taken "Quite deliberately. There are absolutely no regrets"

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India gas plans affected by Bangladesh delay

From NEW DELHI
Wednesday, January 11, 2006
link to this article.

Bangladesh's failure to come to a quick decision over transit rights for a gas pipeline from Myanmar to India may see Yangon seek other markets for sale of its gas, officials fear.
"If in the next two to three months we are not able to make a breakthrough then we may lose the project. We have already lost one whole year with Bangladesh still to come to a decision," petroleum ministry sources told the agency.
"Any further delay could see Myanmar finalising a deal for supply of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to South Korea, Thailand or Japan or alternatively explore pipeline gas supply to China, which is keen to get more gas to supplement its demand," an official said.
Although India and Myanmar are exploring the alternate pipeline route bypassing Bangladesh and entering the country through the northeast, the high cost and security issues remain a concern

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Myanmar pact with Petro China for sale of gas

From NEW DELHI
January 11, 2006
link to this article.

Myanmar has signed an agreement with PetroChina for sale of gas from its A-1 offshore gas block, where ONGC Videsh Limited (OVL) and GAIL jointly hold a 30% stake. The other joint venture partners in A-1 block are Daewoo International as the operator with 60% share and Korea Gas (KOGAS) with a 10% share.

Sources said the details of this move had been passed on to the Indian authorities by an OVL consultant in Yangon.

"We were informed that PetroChina and Myanmar’s energy ministry have signed a memorandum of understanding recently under which Myanmar has agreed to sell 6.5 trillion cubic feet of gas from reserves of block A-1 through a overland pipeline to China Kunming) for over 30 years," an official said. Commercial production from this block is expected to commence from 2009.

This move by the Myanmar authorities to do business with China may come as a severe blow to India's ongoing efforts to import gas from Myanmar through transnational pipelines.

India had proposed to build a $1-billion, 290-km trunk line from west coast of Myanmar to West Bengal via Bangladesh for importing gas from the A-1 block and also the possible reserves in the adjacent A-3 block.

India has been pursuing gas imports from Iran, Myanmar and Turkmenistan via transnational gas pipelines to meet the growing energy needs as domestic production barely meets half of its requirement

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India fears Myanmar may seek other markets for gas

From Indo-Asian News Service
January 11, 2006
link to this article.

India fears that the continuing delay in finalising plans for a gas pipeline connecting Myanmar via Bangladesh despite a trilateral agreement may see Yangon seeking alternative markets for sale of its gas.

"If in the next two to three months we are not able to make a breakthrough then we may lose the project. We have already lost one whole year with Bangladesh still to come to a decision," petroleum ministry sources here said.

"Any further delay could see Myanmar finalising a deal for supply of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to South Korea, Thailand or Japan or alternatively explore pipeline gas supply to China, which is keen to get more gas to supplement its demand," an official said.

Although India and Myanmar are exploring the alternate pipeline route bypassing Bangladesh and entering the country through the northeast, the high cost and security issues remain a concern.

Further, petroleum ministry officials feel bypassing Bangladesh would be "a major failure in Indo-Bangladesh relations given that the three nations had last year agreed on making it a tri-nation project that would not only enable India to get gas supplies from Myanmar but also allow Bangladesh to transfer gas from surplus to deficit regions", a senior official said.

Given that general elections are likely to be held in Bangladesh early next year, it seems unlikely that any early decision on the pipeline would be forthcoming.

Houston-based consulting firm Ryder Scott Company has verified between 2.88 to 3.56 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of gas in Block A-1 in Myanmar's offshore Shwe field in which India holds 30 percent stake through its state-owned companies.

ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL) holds 20 per cent stake and GAIL (India) Ltd another 10 per cent participating interest in this block operated by Daewoo International Corporation with 60 per cent stake and Korea Gas Corporation holding 10 per cent stake.

The consortium started the 2005-06 drilling campaign in December last year with Shwe Nilar-1 well near the Shwe field to add more gas volume in the Shwe area.

The Shwe Phyu field, another discovery in Block A-1, will be evaluate by three appraisal wells during the current drilling campaign.

The consortium is also set to start a drilling programme in Block A-3 with the first exploratory well Mya-1. OVL and GAIL together hold 30 percent stake in this block too, in the same pattern as in Block A-1.

Besides its share of gas from the two exploration blocks, India is looking at Myanmar to source more supplies once the proposed pipeline becomes operational.

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Myanmar refuses supply of natural gas to New Delhi

From New Delhi
January 10 2006
link to this article.

Myanmar has refused to supply natural gas to New Delhi and instead preferred doing business with China.

After beating Indian firms in overseas oil field acquisitions on three occasions in the last five months, Hong Kong-listed PetroChina has inked an agreement to purchase gas from A1 Block in the Bay of Bengal.

Ajay Tyagi, joint secretary (gas), Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas had to cut short his trip and return back after Myanmarese authorities said they had tied-up gas sales with China, PTI reported here Tuesday quoting an industry official.

India has been pursuing gas imports from Iran, Myanmar and Turkmenistan via transnational gas pipelines to meet the growing energy needs as domestic production barely meets half of its requirement.

Sources said Tyagi, who returned from Yangon Tuesday, was informed that Myanmar Energy Ministry signed an MoU with PetroChina on December 7 for sale of 6.5 trillion cubic feet of gas from Block A-1 reserve over 30 years.

No one from Petroleum Ministry was immediately available for comments.

A-1 block has South Korea's Daewoo as the operator and India's ONGC Videsh Ltd (20 percent) and GAIL (10 percent) as its partners.

India had proposed to build a one-billion dollar 290-km trunk line from west coast of Myanmar to West Bengal via Bangladesh for importing gas from the A-1 block and possible reserves in the adjacent A-3 block. OVL and GAIL hold 30 percent stake in A-3 block as well.

New Delhi had also planned to use the Myanmar-Bangladesh-India pipeline to bring stranded gas in the North-East to consumption centers.

Sources said vice chairman of PetroChina and Ministry of Energy (Myanmar) signed an agreement, under which the ministry agreed to sell 6.5 tcf from A-1 Block (Rakhine Coastline) reserve through overland pipeline to Kunming (China) for a period of 30 years.

Commercial production from A-1 block, home to Shwe field which alone has been assessed by Houston-based consulting firm Ryder Scott Co to contain 2.88 trillion cubic feet to 3.56 trillion cubic feet inplace volumes, was expected to commence by 2009.

Block A-1 entered the third extension period last month, which is likely to be over in October 2006, with a work program of drilling of six appraisal/exploratory wells. The drilling campaign is already underway.

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Myanmar declines gas to India; prefers China

Ammar Zaidi in New Delhi
From !!!News Agency's Name!!!
January 10, 2006
link to this article.

In a major blow to India's effort to secure its energy needs through transnational pipelines, Myanmar has refused to supply natural gas to New Delhi and instead preferred doing business with China.

After beating Indian firms in overseas oil field acquisitions on three occasions in the last five months, the Hong Kong-listed PetroChina has inked an agreement to purchase gas from A1 Block in Bay of Bengal.

"Ajay Tyagi -- joint secretary (gas), ministry of petroleum and natural gas -- had to cut short his trip and return back after Myanmarese authorities said they had tied-up gas sales with China," an industry official said.

India has been pursuing gas imports from Iran, Myanmar and Turkmenistan via transnational gas pipelines to meet the growing energy needs as domestic production barely meets half of its requirement.

Sources said Tyagi, who returned from Yangon on Tuesday, was informed that Myanmar Energy Ministry signed an MoU with PetroChina on December 7 for sale of 6.5 trillion cubic feet of gas from Block A-1 reserve over 30 years.

No one from the petroleum ministry was immediately available for comments.

A-1 block has South Korea's Daewoo as the operator and India's ONGC Videsh Ltd (20 per cent) and GAIL (10 per cent) as its partners.

India had proposed to build a $1-billion 290-km trunk line from west coast of Myanmar to West Bengal via Bangladesh for importing gas from the A-1 block and possible reserves in the adjacent A-3 block. OVL and GAIL hold 30 per cent stake in A-3 block as well.

New Delhi had also planned to use the Myanmar-Bangladesh-India pipeline to bring stranded gas in the North-East to consumption centres.

Sources said vice chairman of PetroChina and ministry of energy (Myanmar) signed an agreement, under which the ministry agreed to sell 6.5 tcf from A-1 Block (Rakhine Coastline) reserve through overland pipeline to Kunming (China) for a period of 30 years.

Commercial production from A-1 block, home to Shwe field which alone has been assessed by Houston-based consulting firm Ryder Scott Co to contain 2.88 trillion cubic feet to 3.56 trillion cubic feet inplace volumes, was expected to commence by 2009.

Block A-1 entered the third extension period last month, which is likely to be over in October 2006, with a work programme of drilling of six appraisal/exploratory wells. The drilling campaign is already under way.

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Arakanese youth demand halt to natural gas exploration

Aung Min
From Narinjara News
1/8/2006
link to this article.

Foreign companies have been requested to immediately discontinue the exploration of natural gas in Arakan, western Burma by Arakanese youth until Burma is transformed into a democracy.

"I call for international companies, including Daewoo, cooperating with the Burmese junta to withdraw at once from Burma because our people won't receive any benefits from the projects," said Thura (not real name), aged 23, an environmentalist who has been studying Earth Rights and has recently returned from Arakan after researching sources along the Shwe Gas pipeline area.

The Arakan Shwe Gas Pipeline is one of the largest projects in Southeast Asia and is larger than two previous international projects, Yadana and Yetagun, which involved drilling and cooperation between the Tanintharyi division and international companies including Unocal, a company based in America. For this gas pipeline project in Burma, the South Korea trading firm Daewoo has invested 60%, India's Oil & Gas Corporation (ONGC ) holds 20%, and the Gas Authority of India Ltd. (GAIL) and South Korea's state-run Korea Gas Corporation each run 10% in the offshore gas exploration Areas, namely A-1 and A-3. All the petroleum available the two blocks will be integrated under the proposed Shwe Gas Project. "During the exploration of natural gas, several Kapaing plants were destroyed because of the presence of gas,"Thura explained.

The Kapaing (mangrove) plants, which are no longer produced or are able to reproduce, usually grow along the bay or river. The lifecycle of these plants is dependent upon water.Thura said that last year there were 54 armed battalions
in Arakan State. Now, there are more than 60 total. These batallions stick primarily to the pipeline corridor. Thus, military regime is readily able to force taxes upon local people and to force local boats to act as porters, he continued. In August 2000 Daewoo International singed a cooperation deal with Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE) which undertakes to sell natural gas to India without any referendum by the Burmese people.

The result is the presence of political movements to thwart the Shwe Gas Pipeline project in Western Burma. A student of environmental studies, 25, left Arakan 8 months ago and said, "I never agree with them, for the entire ecosystem can be damaged. Poor people living along the pipeline are particularly vulnerable to the
negative impacts of the pipeline". In fact, poor Arakanese people mainly struggle to
survive through their dependence upon the river or the Bay of Bangel for fishing. Because of the spread of gas, many fish are being killed or are diseased, she explained. This would be detrimental for those live on fishing as well as those consume fish. In Arakan State there is an abundance of natural resources which people cannot use in their own ways because businessmen are trying to sell the natural
resources to foreign countries with high taxes. Moreover, there is a lot of seafood, such as sea-prawns and lobster, which have previously been a valued resource. Many Arakanese depend upon the river or bay by fishing and farming.The environmentalist also said, "there has been an extension of armed groups who are going to disadvantage women living along the pipeline.The women will be used by soldiers for emotional and physical pleasure. This typically results in a marriage between soldiers and the women, only to have the soldiers leave the women. Thus, the pipeline will affect women specifically."

Additionally, the All Arakan Students' and Youths' Congress (AASYC) had, in early October, released a statement to the Daewoo company, which read: "we request that Daewoo postpone the Shwe Gas Project until a time when Burma has a achieved a transition to democracy and the affected people are endowed with the right to make choices regarding the use of their natural resources."

"If international companies including Daewoo cooperate with the Burmese junta, please observe the situation of Burma: what's happening today, what the military regime is doing?" said Thazin Khaing who is studying environmental studies. Thazin Khaing added that the companies especially need to survey the violation of human rights of the military regime. She said that "there is an obstruction of women's rights in Burma which apparent through the detention of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi who has been under house arrest for 10 years. Because of this I would like to insist that the gas pipeline project is suspended until women's rights can be assured in Burma".International companies have been working on the project because the companies and the Burmese junta have been ignoring and neglecting the demands of youth.

Furthermore, "I oppose the pipeline and want the pipeline project to move from Arakan because our people will deeply suffer torture, killings, and human rights violations There will be only bad outcomes of this project," said Khaing Nyi Soe from Manaung Town, Arakan State, who has been working as a garment maker in Mae Sot. Khaing Moe Wai, from Sittway, the capital of Arakan State, who has also been working as a factory worker in Mae Sot said that they, the regime, is continuing human rights violations and imposes taxes on local people living alongside the pipeline. He would furthermore like to request foreign companies not to invest with Burma junta.

Along two previous pipelines corridors, the Yadana and Yetagun pipelines, constructed during the 1990s, there already occurred large-scale human rights violations, such as land confiscation without any compensation, forced labor for being relocated the battalions, constructed military infrastructure, forced labor to build roads, and so on. Local people suffered torture, numerous extra-judicial killings and rape to women of ethnic minorities by the Burmese military. Thousands of local people have already been forced to leave their homeland and have taken shelter in Thailand while others have become Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) because of human rights violations by the Burmese military regime

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'Politics affecting Myanmar gas pipeline project'

From NEW DELHI
1/8/2006
link to this article.

NEW DELHI: India has asserted that the $1.2 billion gas pipeline from Myanmar via Bangladesh is a win-win economic proposition for all the three countries but is being marred by political differences, an internet report said.
Speaking at the GAIL's National Gas Management Centre at Noida, Petroleum Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar said the project was an example of how "political differences (hindered) in realisation of obvious economic gains."
The project would help Myanmar sell its gas found in Bay of Bengal while allowing Bangladesh to earn transit fee and realise value for the stranded gas in North-Eastern Bangladesh. For India, the project would help feed its growing economy while also helping tap the stranded gas in the North-Eastern states, he said.
The project is proposed to transport gas found in A-1 block in offshore Myanmar, where India's ONGC Videsh Ltd and GAIL have 30 per cent stake, to India through a pipeline that would traverse through Bangladesh into the North-Eastern states before entering West Bengal.
Aiyar said the whole of Bay of Bengal was full of gas and many more discoveries on top of finds by Reliance Industries, Niko, GSPC and ONGC in the region, were on the anvil.
He said GAIL, the principal transporter of gas in India, should be given freedom to lay infrastructure in anticipation of the available gas and develop a national gas grid.

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Chinese Ambassador attends well drill test in Arakan

From Narinjara News
1/6/2006
link to this article.

The Chinese ambassador to Burma, Mr Guan Mu, along with
the Chinese Commercial Counsellor, Mr Tang Hai, attended
a well drill test ceremony in Arakan state on 27
December 2005, said a government official from Rambree
Township.
The well drill test was held at Rambree Township in
Arakan under the arrangement of CNOOC Myanmar Ltd of the
People's Republic of China.
The ceremony was held by CNOOC Myanmar Ltd in
collaboration with the Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise of
the Ministry of Energy who are working together in the
exploration and production of oil and natural gas.
According to official sources, the Burma Minister for
Energy, Brig-Gen Lun Thi, and the Chairman of the Arakan
State Peace and Development Council, Commander of
Western Command Maj-Gen Khin Maung Myint, attended the
ceremony with other Burmese military officials.
CNOOC Myanmar Ltd Chairman, Mr Xu Fa, also attended and
described the prospects of the block-M and the
arrangements for exploration of oil from the test well.
The ceremony was held to test drill well Rambree 19-1-1
on block-M near Tharetcho village, Rambree Township,
Arakan State.
It was learned that several oil fields owned by local
people from Rambree Island, the biggest island in
Arakan, were confiscated by the Burma military authority
without any compensation for CNOOC Myanmar Ltd, a
Chinese oil and gas company dedicated to the exploration
in the area since last year.
A number Arakanese people have been making in livelihood
by hand-drilling oil on Rambree island since the British
rule.

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Burma aims to export Arakanese natural gas to China

From Narinjara News
1/5/2006
link to this article.

A team of Daewoo and Burmese government representatives
visited Taungup Township from 21 to 24 December, 2005 to
inspect potential gas export routes from Arakan State to
China.
There were four representatives from Daewoo, two from
the state-run Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE), two
from the private firm Asia Wealth, and two from the
government Public Construction Department, according to
a source close to one of the companies involved.
Nan Maung and San Paw were the representatives from
MOGE, Kyaw San Hla and Myo Khin Tun were the
representatives from Asia Wealth, and Hla Yee and Wai
Moe represented the Public Construction Department.
The team visited Magaee Kyan, an offshore island between
Taungup and Manaung, on the 21st to inspect surrounding
waterways in the area. The team was met by the commander
of the Western Command, General Khin Maung Myint.
On the following day, the delegation inspected the route
between Maee - Latt Pann - Linn Ree - Lae Tuu in Taungup
Township, followed by the route between Taungup and Min
Don, Magway Division in central Burma on the 23rd.
According to a reliable source in the region, the
tentative plan is to transport the gas through a
pipeline that will run from the sea through the
Arakanese Mountains from Taungup Township to Mindon in
central Burma. From Mindon, the pipeline will run
through Minbu, Yenangyaung, Kyaukpadaung, Popa, and Pyin
Oo Lwin into Shan State. In Shan State, the gas pipeline
will pass through Nawnghkio, Kyaukme, Hsipaw, Lashio,
Hseni, and Mu-Se into Yunan, China.
Though there has been some initial planning carried out,
no official announcement has been made regarding the
pipeline from either the Burmese government or the
businesses involved

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India seeks feasibility study to import Myanmar gas bypassing Bangladesh

From Financial Express
Wednesday January 04 2006
link to this article.


Indian Petroleum and Natural Gas Ministry is considering the option of importing natural gas from Myanmar through its land-locked region of North East (NE) bypassing Bangladesh.

GAIL (India) Ltd, a premium natural gas company, is seeking a detailed feasibility report contemplating to import the Myanmar gas through a pipeline via North East by engaging consultancy services, an Indian media reported Tuesday.

"GAIL seeks a detailed feasibility report, Environment Management Plan and Rapid Risk Analysis for transportation of 33.5 MMSCMD of natural gas (22-28 MMSCMD from Myanmar and 3.5 MM-SCMD from Tripura and 4.5 MMSC-MD from Assam) through a pipeline via NE," the report said.

The Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Mani Sankar Aiyar has not disagreed to the proposal of the optional route through NE during the recent session of Parliament, it added.

India has already signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Myanmar in the recent past to import natural gas from Myanmar via pipeline besides transporting as compressed natural gas (CNG) through sea route as the first option and through a pipeline via a third country, Bangladesh, as the second option.

A move was taken to set up a pipeline through Bangladesh to transport gas from Myanmar to Indian state of West Bengal. A project-tri-nation pipeline-was initiated by the Mohona Holdings Limited way back in 1997 for transporting natural gas found in offshore Myanmar to India via Bangaldesh.

The governments of India and Myanmar have already approved Mohona's proposal for the cross-border pipeline.

Though the three countries had agreement on the US$1.0 billion pipeline originating from Arakan in Myanmar to Kolkata, not much progress had so far been made due to pre-conditions set by Bangladesh.

Bangladesh agreed on principle to allow its territory for carrying Myanmar gas to India but tagged three proposals to the project calling for reduction of the trade imbalance with India, provision of a corridor for carrying Nepalese goods to Bangladeshi ports and access to hydroelectric power in Bhutan.

According to Bangladesh Energy Ministry, the proposed pipeline, if allowed to run through the country, would fetch the government $500 million a year at the preliminary stage.

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