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GAIL forges ahead with CNG option to evacuate Myanmar gas

From Pipeline Asia
March 31, 2006
link to this article.

Eight firms have expressed interest to Gas Authority of India Limited's (GAIL) invitation to transport CNG from Block A-1 in Myanmar, a proposal that is likely to undercut the pipeline alternative.

Expressions of interest have been submitted by:
- a consortium led by American company EnerSea Transport with Japanese firm Mitsui and K-Line,
- a consortium led by TransCanada,
- Norwegian company Knutsen OAS Shipping,
- Malaysia International Shipping Corporation,
- a consortium comprised of Malaysia's Forbes Bumi Armada, Trans Ocean Gas, Canada's BMT Fleet Technology and Norway's Wilhemsen Marine consultants,
- Indian company Ardeshir B.Cursetjee & Sons,
- Japan's Marubeni Corporation in a joint venture with Canada's Sea NG Management Corporation, and,
- Belgian Exmar Marine NV.

GAIL will shortly select a firm or consortium for the long term chartering service of a CNG barge. GAIL is currently in the process of floating Request for Qualifications to the interested parties.

GAIL is one of the stakeholders in Block A-1 and is the preferred buyer for 65 per cent of the gas from the block.

"CNG marine transportation has an inherent advantage over LNG shipping for transporting medium volume of gas up to a distance of 1,500 km as it eliminates the necessity of capital intensive investment towards a liquefaction plant at source and regasification plant at delivery point," said a statement from GAIL.

GAIL has already carried out prefeasibility studies to transport the natural gas in India from Myanmar, which considered various routes including offshore pipelines, onshore pipelines (through Chittagong in Bangladesh, through Tripura and Dhaka and through the northeastern Indian territory, excluding Bangladesh), LNG and CNG. The company most recently commissioned a feasibility study for the onshore route through northeastern India.

However, the company cites the prospective size of the gas field and the proximity of the field to the east coast of India as heavily weighing on the side of the CNG option.

"Transporting CNG by ship will provide flexibility to deliver gas at various coastal locations of India. CNG marine transportation provides an additional advantage of higher scalability by simply adding more ships with the progressive increase of supply from the same source and nearby sources," said a statement released by the company.

The pipeline options had been stalled because of the breakdown of negotiations between India and Bangladesh. Earlier this month, India and Myanmar signed a Memorandum of Understanding covering the transport of natural gas from the Myanmar port of Arakan to India.

"GAIL is now poised to move ahead with an innovative solution for evacuating Myanmar gas," the statement said.


Government agricultural plan resulted in land confiscation in Arakan

From Narinjara News, Bangladesh
March 30, 2006
link to this article.

The Burmese military authority from Rangoon ordered all army battalions in Arakan State to cultivate Physic nuts from this year dry season to promote state income through this agriculture project, said army personnel.

In the order, at least 35 acres of farms will be cultivated by per battalion where each battalion will have to cultivate 1200 plants per acre.

Following the authority's order, the army authorities confiscated several farms near the army cantonment after the army official's examination of the land. Several farms in Arakan state including several arecas of farms nearby Ramaung Bridge in Minbya were confiscated by army authorities recently for this agriculture project.

Moreover, a number of townships in Arakan including Sittwe, Rathidaung, Buthidaung, Kyauktaw and Mrauk U are also facing the problem of land confiscation by the Burmese army, said a primary teacher.

In Arakan State, there are 43 light infantry battalions and 10 other army headquarters including west command and one artillery battalion.

Burmese army has already confiscated a large section of land from Arakan people to cultivate rubber, teak, pepper and rice before the new Physic nut endeavor.


Myanmar nod for GAIL's 10% stake in A-3 block

From Our Economy Bureau / New Delhi
March 31, 2006
link to this article.

Myanmar has formally approved GAIL's proposal to pick up 10 per cent stake in A-3 block awarded to Daewoo International Corporation of Korea in 2004.

GAIL had signed an assignment agreement for equity participation in the off-shore block last year. As per the production sharing contract, the assignment agreement required formal ratification of the Myanmar government.

Drilling of the first exploratory well in A-3 block which completed recently has resulted in gas discovery. Appraisal of the discovered prospect and further exploratory drilling is likely to commence by the year-end.

The block is spread over 6,780 sq km. GAIL will be the preferred buyer to buy the Daewoo’s share of natural gas from the block.

GAIL has commissioned detailed feasibility study for an onland gas pipeline route via north-east India and the study will be available by April-end. This would be presented to the Myanmar side in a joint meeting scheduled in May.


GAIL shares rise after Burma bids

Syed Ali Mujtaba
From Mizzima News, India
March 29, 2006
link to this article.

Shares in the Gas Authority of India Limited rose to Rs 304.90 today after the company announced it received bids from eight firms for the transportation of natural gas from its production block in Burma.

GAIL, a stakeholder in Burma's A1 block, carried out a pre-feasibility study to market natural gas in India from the block through various means including a pipeline.

The company had invited expressions of interest for the transportation of the gas and Proshanto Banerjee, chairman and managing director of GAIL announced today that eight national and international firms had placed bids.

Banerjee reportedly said bids for the marine transportation of the gas made
more sense.

"Considering the options in terms of capital investment and shipping cost or pipeline transmission tariff, it seems transporting the gas in the form of CNG by ship or barge appears to be most attractive bet," Banerjee was quoted as saying.

Gas reserves in the A1 block are estimated at four trillion cubic feet.


India, Myanmar ink pact on petroleum

March 10, 2006
link to this article.

YANGON, MARCH 9: Taking bilateral cooperation to a higher plane, India and Myanmar on Thursday signed three agreements in petroleum, space and education sectors in the presence of President APJ Abdul Kalam and Chairman of the Myanmar State Peace and Development Council Senior General Than Shwe.
The memorandum of understanding (MoU) on cooperation in petroleum sector pertains to transport of natural gas from Arakan port of Myanmar either through a pipeline via North East or through Bangladesh.
India has been pressing to build a pipeline from Myanmar through Bangladesh to meet a yawning energy supply gap. The option of converting the gas into liquified natural gas (LNG) for shipping, is also under consideration as it would be cost-effective, considering that the distance was not too much.

The MoU was signed by joint secretary in the ministry of petroleum and natural gas Prabh Das and the director general of energy planning department of the ministry of energy of Myanmar, sources said.

Another MoU on cooperation in Buddhist studies was inked by foreign secretary Shyam Saran and deputy minister for religious affairs, Myanmar, brigadior general Thura Aung Ko.

A framework agreement on mutual cooperation in the field of remote sensing was concluded for setting up a ground station in Myanmar. The station will receive remote sensing data from IRS satellite for various uses including agriculture purposes like survey of soil and minerals.

The documents were signed on the second day of the three-day visit of Mr Kalam to Myanmar, the first-ever by an Indian head of state.

Relations between Myanmar and India began warming up rapidly since late 1990s. As part of its "look East" policy, India has strengthened cooperation with Myanmar in a number of fields including defence.

On the economic front, India remains committed to achieving the target of increasing bilateral trade to $1 billion with Myanmar by 2006. Trade between the two countries has expanded significantly over the last few years.

New Delhi is also considering a proposal for setting up a rail link with Myanmar through the North-eastern states and a feasibility study has already been completed by the Indian Railways.


Burma Signs Business Deals with China

From Irrawaddy News
March 14, 2006

to this article.

Burma's military government further strengthened economic ties with its booming northern neighbor China as a delegation of officials, led by Prime Minister Gen Soe Win paid a four-day visit to the country. Following meetings with Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao and President Hu Jintao in Beijing, Soe Win's delegation secured RMB70 million (US $8.7 million) in financial aid and a further $200 million in soft loans. The money will be injected into further development of Burma's oil and gas sector, state-run The New Light of Myanmar reported, with terms of the deal likely to specify that Chinese firms be given preference on invitations to tender. Further loan agreements were reached in which China's Exim Bank will lend Myanmar Posts and Telecommunications $31.5 million. MPT's Managing Director Maung Maung Tin—having secured money from the Chinese—gave the green light to phase 1 of a development project that will see Guangdong-based firm ZTE further develop Burma's telecommunications network. Similarly, Yunnan Machinery and Equipment Import and Export Company negotiated a contract to supply more equipment and services for the second phase of Burma's Paunglaung hydropower project, situated in Mandalay Division near the new administrative capital Pyinmana.


Senior General Than Shwe bids farewell to Dr APJ Abdul Kalam

From myanmar
Sunday, March 12, 2006

to this article.

Yangon, 11 March — Chairman of the State Peace and Development Council of the Union of Myanmar Senior General Than Shwe bade farewell to the goodwill delegation led by President of the Republic of India Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, who had completed his State visit, at Yangon International Airport this morning.

Present at the airport together with Senior General Than Shwe were Vice-Chairman of the State Peace and Development Council Vice-Senior General Maung Aye, Member of the State Peace and Development Council General Thura Shwe Mann of the Ministry of Defence, Prime Minister General Soe Win, Secretary-1 of the State Peace and Development Council Lt-Gen Thein Sein, the Chairman of Yangon Division Peace and Development Council Commander of Yangon Command, the ministers, the Myanmar Ambassador to India, the Director-General of the Protocol Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, departmental heads, Indian Ambassador to Myanmar Mr Bhaskar Kumar Mitra and embassy staff.

At 10.30 am, the goodwill delegation led by President of the Republic of India Dr APJ Abdul Kalam arrived at the VIP Lounge of Yangon International Airport. They were welcomed by Senior General Than Shwe and party.

Senior General Than Shwe presented a documentary photo album on the State visit and VCD as gifts to the Indian President.

Likewise, Indian President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam presented books on the Republic of India as gifts to Senior General Than Shwe.

Senior General Than Shwe and party bade farewell to the Indian goodwill delegation at the ramp of the special aircraft.

Next, Senior General Than Shwe shook hands with the Indian President.

When the special aircraft carrying the goodwill delegation led by President of the Republic of India Dr APJ Abdul Kalam left Yangon International Airport at 11 am, Senior General Than Shwe and party waved them from the VIP Lounge of the airport.


In Myanmar visit, Indian president jockeys with China for energy

From (AFP)
12 March 2006

to this article.

YANGON - India's president left Myanmar this weekend with a new deal on natural gas, joining China in a race for the country's resources that weakens international demands for democratic reforms, analysts said on Sunday.

Myanmar is under a patchwork of US and European sanctions, imposed over human rights abuses by its military rulers and to press for the release of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Neighbours in Southeast Asia have become increasingly vocal in their concerns about Myanmar's failure to deliver on promised reforms.

Despite regional frustration at repeated delays in a visit by an envoy from the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), analysts said there's only so much the region or the West can do.

"The geopolitical situation favors the Burmese military a lot. ASEAN is limited, in that Burma can do a lot because of China and India engaging the Burmese military," political analyst Aung Naing Oo said, referring to Myanmar by its former name.

Myanmar, which borders both China and India, possesses signficant untapped natural gas reserves off its western Arakan Coast.

Neighboring Thailand already pipes natural gas from Myanmar's offshore reserves in the southeast in the Andaman Sea. Energy-hungry China and India hope for a similar arrangement from the reserves off Arakan.

China signed a deal with Myanmar in November to consider building a pipeline from the Shwe field to its Yunan province.

Indian President Abdul Kalam left Yangon on Saturday with a similar agreement to explore transport options.

India has been trying to negotiate a three-billion-dollar deal to run a pipeline from Myanmar across Bangladesh to the eastern Indian city of Kolkata, but failed to make headway in the talks.

The agreement signed Thursday would allow studies into running a much longer pipeline through northeast India, which borders Myanmar, or converting the gas to liquefied natural gas for shipping.

But the scramble for Myanmar's natural resources has immunized the junta from the pain of western sanctions and demands for reforms, Aung Naing Oo said.

"Although India always claims they are a great democracy, they want closer ties with the Burmese military," he said.

During Kalam's trip, Indian officials said the president never mentioned Aung San Suu Kyi in his talks with the generals, even though India and the United States made a joint statement calling for her release during President George W. Bush's visit just one week earlier.

Aung San Suu Kyi, whose party won 1990 elections but was never allowed to take office, has spent more than 10 of the last 16 years in detention.

Myanmar political analyst Win Naing said India couldn't afford to talk directly about Aung San Suu Kyi or specific human rights abuses, for fear of alienating the generals and losing ground to China.

"The Indian president might discuss with our senior general about democracy and national reconciliation," but only in loose terms, Win Naing said.

"India is striving for better bilateral relations with Myanmar by competing with China."

Myanmar businesses are also keen to boost trade with India, a country that many here see as a natural partner because of its significant Indian community, estimated at about one million people.

Two-way trade currently stands at about 400 million dollars, one-third the level of Myanmar’s trade with China, Sein Win Hlaing, head of Myanmar's chamber of commerce, told AFP.

"It doesn't mean that these two countries are competing to influence Myanmar. We all benefit from it,"Sein Win Hlaing said.

Whether the new gas reserves in western Myanmar go to India or to China -- or a combination -- the profits will go directly to the military at the expense of the nation's impoverished people, analysts said.

"The riches from sales of natural resources always disappear into thin air. We don't know how this money is spent," Aung Naing Oo said.


India, Myanmar sign gas supply deal

MARCH 10, 2006
link to this article.

YANGON: India has signed a preliminary agreement with Myanmar on buying natural gas from the military-ruled southeast Asian nation, a senior Indian official said.

The memorandum of understanding covered sales of gas to state-run gas utility GAIL (India) Ltd and building a pipeline from Myanmar to northeast India, Shyam Saren, the Indian foreign ministry's top civil official, told reporters late on Thursday.

He gave no further details, but Myanmar officials said earlier this week the agreement to be signed was identical to one agreed with China last year as Yangon kept both options open for its huge natural gas reserves.

A Myanmar Energy Ministry official said more exploration and feasibility studies were needed before Yangon decided on gas sales to either Asian giant.

India and China, both seeking to feed energy-hungry economies, are looking to build ties with neighbouring Myanmar's military junta with an eye on its vast natural gas reserves.

Human rights groups have lobbied western oil companies to avoid Myanmar in protest at its detention of Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and on other human rights issues.

Myanmar says it has the world's tenth-biggest gas reserves estimated at more than 90 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) in its 19 onshore and three major offshore fields, although the BP Statistical Review puts proven gas reserves much lower at 19 Tcf.

The fields are also estimated to contain around 3.2 billion barrels of recoverable crude oil.

Its recently discovered A-1 field, operated by South Korea's Daewoo International, has commercial reserves of 2.88-3.56 tcf of gas. That figure may rise as nearby fields are appraised, possibly supporting several export pipelines.

Indian state-run gas firms ONGC Videsh, a wholly owned subsidiary of Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC), has a 20 per cent stake in A-1, while GAIL has 10 per cent. Korea Gas Corp also owns 10 per cent.

India, whose economy grew at 7.6 per cent in the fiscal quarter ending in December, produces barely half the gas it needs and is also planning gas pipelines from Iran and Turkmenistan.


India signs Burma gas agreement

From BBC

to this article.

Rangoon: Burma and India have agreed a long-term plan to supply Burmese natural gas to India, reports from Rangoon say. The signing came during the landmark three-day visit to Burma of India's President, APJ Abdul Kalam.

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He is the first Indian president to visit the country, a move that signals India's growing determination to foster closer economic ties with Burma.

But as a democracy, India does face pressures about doing business with Burma's military-led government.
'Look East'

This latest agreement paves the way for the building of a pipeline, to carry natural gas from Burma to India, either via India's north-east states or via Bangladesh.

Indian politicians have actively pursued Rangoon in recent years as part of their determination to "look east" in the search for new markets and much-needed natural resources.

India is also sensitive to its competition for energy with China, as both countries fuel their fast-growing economies.

China agreed a similar gas supply deal with Rangoon last year. Some in India were anxious about being left behind.

Indian officials have defended their decision to strengthen ties, arguing it's important for India to stay engaged with Burma.

But India officially supports multi-party democracy in Burma and the release of opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi.

Its eagerness to strike deals with the current government, including military co-operation, is criticised by those opposed to the regime and concerned about its human rights record.

The delegation also signed agreements on Burmese access to an Indian satellite and on education. There are also plans for a future rail link between India and Burma, possibly through India's north-east.


Burmese Junta to sign gas deal with India soon

Iftekhar Ahmed
From Narinjara News
March 8,2006
link to this article.

Burmese Military Junta is expected to sign an agreement with India this week to supply its natural gas to India, according to Indian Foreign Secretary. Indian President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam during his three-day visit, which started on Tuesday, is likely to finalize the deal with Burma."What we are looking at is an agreement between the two sides for the evacuation of natural gas which would be produced in these exploration blocks," Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran told in a news conference. Foreign Secretary of India did not give details about the agreement to be signed in Rangoon but New Delhi was looking at a Burma-Bangladesh-India gas pipeline among other possible schemes. The secretary also raised the option of converting natural gas of Burma into Liquefied Natural Gas and shipping it to India from Burma's Arakan coast that faces India's eastern seaboard. This might be another "cost-effective" option and a third option was a pipeline connecting Burma to India's northeast territory. Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) Videsh - the state-run gas firm of India and GAIL India hold stakes in projects involved in exploring for natural gas in Burma. India's energy-hungry economy grew at 7.6 percent in the fiscal quarter ending in December, produces barely half the gas it needs and is also planning gas pipelines with Iran and Turkmenistan. The Junta has been continuing gas exploration particularly blocks at Arakan coast without any consensus opinion from its citizens.


More gas found in Myanmar offshore

From Xinhua/New Age, Bangladesh
March 6, 2006
link to this article.

Natural gas deposits have been found at the Mya field in block area A-3 in western Myanmar's Rakhine offshore area, said a report of the official newspaper New Light of Myanmar Monday.

Successful drilling of the Mya test well No. 1 at the block in the offshore area was carried out with gas burning on Sunday.
It was estimated that the Mya field contains 2 trillion cubic- feet (TCF) or 56.63 billion cubic-meters (BCM) of gas being explored by a consortium of foreign oil companies, led by South Korea's Daewoo International Corporation.

Myanmar is planning to sell gas produced from the Mya field along with two other fields-Shwe and Shwephyu in block A-1 to neighbouring countries such as India and China through pipelines, the report said.
The exploration on the block A-3 was conducted under an agreement reached in February 2004 between the Myanmar Ministry of Energy and the consortium, in which Daewoo holds a 60-per cent stake, while South Korea Gas Corporation 10 per cent, ONGC Videsh Ltd of India 20 per cent and Gas Authority of India Ltd (GAIL) 10 per cent.

Adjacent to the block A-3, which has an area of 6,780- square- kilometre (sq- km), there lies block A-1 where two deposits of natural gas, known as the Shwe field and the Shwephyu field, had already been found by the same consortium in January 2004 and April 2005 respectively. The Shwe field holds a gas reserve of 4 to 6 TCF or 113.2 to 170 BCM, while the Shwephyu 5 TCF or 141.5 BCM. And the whole block A-1 is estimated to yield up to 14 TCF or 396.2 BCM of gas.

Meanwhile, Indian company the Essar Oil Ltd has also reached a contract with Myanmar to undertake gas exploration activities at Block A-2 in the same Rakhine offshore area and Block-L in the coastal region of Sittway.

Moreover, three more available blocks off Myanmar's southern Tanintharyi coast are also under natural gas exploration with test wells being planned for drilling by Malaysia's Petronas Company covering blocks M-16, M-17 and M-18 with areas of ranging from about 13,000 sq-km to 14,000 sq-km.
Recent years have seen foreign oil companies increase engagement in oil and gas exploration in Myanmar. Thailand's PTTEP, for example, has covered a number of blocks such as M-3, M-4, M-7, M-9 and M-11 under contracts, while another consortium made up of Chinese and Singaporean companies are also engaged in oil and gas exploration in some onshore and offshore areas.

With three large offshore and 19 onshore oil and gas fields, Myanmar possesses 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.
The figures also indicate that in the fiscal year of 2004-05, Myanmar produced 7.48 million barrels of crude oil and 10.69 billion cubic meters (BCM) of gas. Gas export during the year went to 9.5 BCM, earning over $1 billion.


Energy Minister inspects burning of gas at Mya test well No 1

From Yangon
5th March, 2006
link to this article.

Minister for Energy Brig-Gen Lun Thi, accompanied by officials of Daewoo E&P Myanmar Co, this morning inspected burning of natural gas at Mya Test Well No 1 at A-3 Block of Rakhine offshore.

At the briefing hall of Nan Hai-II drilling platform, Managing Director Dr SY Yeong of Daewoo E&P Myanmar Co reported on successful drilling of natural gas at Mya test well No 1, the comparison of natural gas deposits between Blocks A-1 and A-3, arrangements for selling natural gas from the deposits, prospects of natural gas exploration at Block A-3, and future tasks.

The minister discussed prospects of selling natural gas from three natural gas deposits to neighbouring countries through pipelines, and construction of Liquefied Natural Gas Plant. Next, the minister gave instructions on timely completion of drilling the test wells at two geographical structures.

The minister and officials of the Ministry of Energy held a discussion on future tasks. Afterwards, Minister Brig-Gen Lun Thi presented a fruit basket to foreign technicians and Myanmar employees.

The minister and party visited the Nan Hai drilling platform and burning of natural gas at Mya test well No 1.

Block A-3 is located beside Block A-1 of Shwe natural gas deposit at Rakhine offshore. According to the feasibility studies, it is estimated that there are 2 trillion cubic-feet of natural gas at Mya natural gas deposit. Furthermore, there will be more natural gas deposits in Block A-3 area.



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