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Check back here often to stay abreast of the most recent SHWE Gas Movement-related news.

 

Bangladesh wants 'firm Indian policy on Burma-Bangladesh-India (tri-nation) gas pipeline'

Iftekhar Ahmed
From Narinjara News
4/23/2006

link
to this article.

The installation of tri-nation gas pipeline of US$ 1.0 billion for carrying Burmese gas to India through Bangladesh territory needs India's resolution to moving forward.

According to the Energy and Mineral Resources Division (EMRD) of Bangladesh - "A firm policy of the Indian government is needed on the proposed tri-nation gas pipeline issue to ensure its establishment."

The newly appointed Indian Petroleum Minister Murli Deora expressed his intention to sit with the EMRD officials of Bangladesh to reach consensus on the gas pipeline project, while talking to an Indian daily last week.

"If we bring Burma (Myanmar) gas through Bangladesh, we would save over 50 per cent of project cost as compared to bringing it through North-East," Deora was quoted by the Indian daily as saying.

Talking with the Indian newspaper Deora expected to meet with ministers from Burma and Bangladesh for the Burma-Bangladesh-India pipelineproject.

"But we are yet to get any formal proposal from the new Indian petroleum minister to discuss the issue," EMRD adviser said.

He also said Bangladesh still has intention to allow India to use its territory for carrying Burmese gas provided that Indian government agrees with the proposals Bangladesh made to it for its implementation. The Bangladeshi proposals include reduction of the trade imbalance with India, provision of a corridor for Nepalese goods to Bangladeshi ports and access to hydroelectric power of Nepal and Bhutan.

He said Bangladesh sees the project economically viable if the demands raised by it are fulfilled.

In 1997, the Mohona Holdings Limited of Bangladesh initiated the tri-nation pipeline project. A draft memorandum of understanding (MOU) among the three participating countries was also signed in February 2005 for construction of the proposed tri-nation gas pipeline to carry Burmese gas to India through the Bangladeshi territory. The tri-nation techno-commercial meeting with representations of all the three countries signed the draft memorandum of understanding (MOU) in Yangon in February, 2005.

Under the proposal, the 950-kilometer pipeline is expected to run through the Arakan state in Burma via the Indian states of Mizoram and Tripura beforecrossing Bangladesh to Kolkata.

Bangladesh may earn $125 million annually as transit fees from both India and Burma. Sources said there are gas reserves of around 5.0-6.0 trillion cubic feet (TCF) in the block under discussion in Burma from which gas is to be transmitted to India.

India's Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd (ONGC), GAIL India Ltd and Burma hold 30 per cent stake each in the gas field while Korean Daewoo Company has 40 per cent stake. #

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Sino-Burma pipeline will set off more relocations

From Shan Herald Agency
22 April 2006
link to this article.

The 1996-98 forced relocations of 300,000 people from southern Shan State will pale into insignificance in comparison to the one this year when the construction of the oil pipeline linking Arakan State's port of Akyab (Sittwe) with China's Kunming is expected to start, warns a senior Shan ceasefire officer.

He was speaking in response to China Business' 18 April report that the oil pipeline has been given the greenlight by China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) at the beginning of this month. The 1,000 km long conduit would provide an alternative route for China's crude imports from the Middle East and Africa and help reduce its dependence on traffic through the Strait of Malacca, says the paper.

"It will be passing through areas north of the Mandalay-Lashio highway," he told S.H.A.N. "Which explains why some of the ceasefire groups were forced to surrender and the SSA (Shan State Army-North) was forced to move south of the road last year."

Two ceasefire groups: Shan State National Army and Palaung State Liberation Army were pressured "to exchange arms for peace" in April 2005 and the SSA-North's Third Brigade was forced to relocate from its operational areas north of the highway in September by the Burma Army's Lashio-based Northeastern Region Command.

"At present, the only group that remains north of the road is the KIA (Kachin Independence Army)'s 4th Brigade," he continued. "That is why it is under pressure to relocate."

Six members of the brigade in Muse, opposite Ruili, were shot to death by the Burma Army's Infantry Battalion 68 without provocation on 2 January. Maj-Gen Myint Hlaing, Commander of the Northeastern Region, had refused to take action on the unit despite protests from the KIA.

"You cannot expect the Army to punish (Maj-Gen) Myint Hlaing either," he said. "Instead, he's said to have been given a new command in Pyimana (where the military has moved its capital since November)."

The KIA's 4 other outposts in northern Shan State were stormed on 20 April, reported Mizzima News.

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Myanmar gas heat on Delhi

OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
From New Delhi
April 19, 2006
link to this article.

When he was 10, Wong Aung was forced to carry bamboo and build roads for Myanmar's military junta. At 20, studying electrical engineering and drawn into the democracy movement, he was beaten by soldiers with rifle butts.

This week, Aung took a break from self-imposed exile on the Thailand-Myanmar border to condemn India's moves to exploit one of the world's largest deposits of natural gas discovered in the 1990s in the Arakan sea off Myanmar's west coast.

"The dollars that the military regime earns from gas will go into bullets to kill pro-democracy students," said Aung, president of the All Arakan Students' Youth Congress. "Their blood will make the colour of the gas red."

Aung is among Myanmarese pro-democracy activists, student leaders from India's Northeast, and international human rights watchers who have gathered here to protest against India's involvement in a proposal to transport the gas from Myanmar to India.

The Oil and Natural Gas Commission (ONGC) and the Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL) had recently bought 30 per cent stake in a gas deposit from Korea's Daewoo that owns exploration and ownership rights for natural gas in the Arakan region.

The Arakan gas deposits are huge - the block where ONGC and GAIL have a stake alone contains over 20 trillion cubic feet of gas. But analysts say it is uncertain how India will get the gas from Myanmar.

Negotiations with Dhaka to bring the gas via the Shwe gas pipeline passing through Bangladesh have all but broken down, and a pipeline through India's Northeast, avoiding Bangladesh, is considered too expensive.

While analysts point out that Myanmar has agreed to commit its share of the gas to China through a pipeline that runs into China's Yunan province, activists claim that India is still evaluating other options of transporting the gas to India.

Analysts have predicted that the Shwe gas pipeline will help the Myanmar military regime earn an annual revenue of $2.86 billion for the next 20 years, a figure higher than Myanmar's total current export earnings of $2.13 billion.

"The gas is Myanmar's wealth. But this is a wrong time to buy gas from Myanmar," said Aung. "The pipeline will mean more military repression."

He says the number of battalions in Arakan have gone up from 10 in 1990 to 45 in 2000 and 63 this year.

"Those who want Myanmar's gas should wait until democracy is established," Aung said. "It will happen some day."

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Activists nabbed in rally at embassy

From Bangkok Post
19 Apr 2006
link to this article.

Around 30 Burmese activists including students were arrested yesterday while protesting in front of the South Korean embassy in Bangkok against the participation of Korean companies in a gas pipeline project in Burma.

Most of the demonstrators, who are under the protection of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, were sent to the Immigration Bureau for detention before being sent back to UNHCR camps in Mae Sot district, Tak.

About 10 of the protesters carried work permits issued to registered alien labourers. They were sent to the Huay Kwang police station to have their documents checked and were released later in the day.

One of the activists said she had joined the protest although she knew she could be arrested.

"It's not a crime. If we do not fight for our country, who will?," said the activist who requested anonymity.

The protest in Bangkok was part of a global campaign against the gas pipeline project in Arakan state, western Burma.

The Shwe Gas Project, the biggest project in Burma and Southeast Asia, is being implemented by South Korea's Daewoo International which has a 60% stake. Other investors include KOGAS of South Korea, ONGC Videsh of India and GAIL of India.

Aung Marm Oo, general-secretary of the All Arakan Students and Youths, Congress said they opposed the project because it would generate up to US$3,200 billion in annual profit for the ruling State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), thus enabling the junta to spend more on weaponry and military equipment which could be used to oppress Burmese civilians and destroy the environment.

The Burmese demonstrators yesterday submitted a protest letter through the embassy's second secretary Hyung Suk-Choi, calling on the Seoul government to urge the two South Korean firms to suspend their current business in Burma and refrain from making new investment deals with the military junta until talks could be held with a democratically elected government in Burma.

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Malaysian police arrest 82 Myanmar protesters over Daewoo gas project

From KUALA LUMPUR
18 April, 2006
link to this article.

Malaysian police on Tuesday arrested 82 activists, mostly from Myanmar but including one Australian, who demonstrated against South Korea's Daewoo International which is exploring gasfields off Myanmar's coast.

Some 100 activists had protested peacefully outside the South Korean embassy in Kuala Lumpur but as they moved to disperse, police detained dozens of them.

"We have 82 arrested altogether. (They) have been arrested for an illegal gathering," local police chief Hasnan Hassan told AFP.

Hasnan said police were still trying to confirm all the nationalities but said one Australian was among the detainees. They would appear before a megistrate's court Wednesday.

Malaysian rights group Suaram, which has been supporting the activists, criticised the arrests.

"It is totally uncalled for because the people had already dispersed and were waiting for a bus to go home," said Suaram coordinator Chang Lih Kang.

Chanting "Daewoo, Daewoo, go away, go away," the protesters said the company's gas exploration would boost revenue for Myanmar's military junta and lead to rights abuses.

"If they invest in my country, there will be human rights abuses and many, many problems," Aung Lwin told AFP.

He alleged the military junta had already forcibly cleared nine villages in the area around a planned gas pipeline.

"Nine villages were moved by the government already and there is forced labour and many problems now," said Aung Lwin, adding the Daewoo protests were carried out worldwide.

Investment company Daewoo International announced in January it had discovered a gas reserve off Myanmar, its second after obtaining exploration rights in 2004.

Daewoo International has a 60 percent stake in the new gasfield, with the remaining shares held by a consortium of Korean and Indian companies.

The activists estimated one of the reserves could generate up to one billion US dollars for Myanmar's government in years to come.

Activists have long campaigned against international companies investing in Myanmar, arguing it will prop up the junta and lead to environmental and rights abuses.

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Burma Activists protesting against Daewoo arrested

Mungpi & Mi Mi
From Mizzima News
April 18, 2006
link to this article.

The Thai police today arrested and detained 20 Burmese activists protesting outside the South Korean Embassy in Bangkok against Daewoo International Corporation's investment in oil and natural gas exploration in Burma.

Over 30 Burmese and Thai activists were jointly demonstrating against Daewoo in front of the South Korean Embassy in Bangkok when the Thai police broke up the gathering and arrested 25 Burmese activists.

However, five of the arrested Burmese activists who possess work permits were later released, according to an eyewitness and participant at the protest, Mr. Pokpong Lawansiri who is a volunteer with Forum Asia, a non-governmental organisation based in Thailand.

"When we were about to leave the protest site, the Thai police came and asked for identity cards. They also asked the Burmese students for their ID cards and arrested those failing to produce their ID," said Pokpong Lawansiri.

The arrested Burmese activists were taken to the immigration detention centre in Bangkok, said Mr. Lawansiri. He added that they would be transported to Mae Sod in Tak province to be kept under the care of the United Nations refugee agency.

Meanwhile, reports said that the Malaysian police arrested over 80 Burmese activists who were holding a protest rally against Daewoo International Corporation outside the South Korean Embassy in Kuala Lumpur.

Declaring April 18, as the International Day of Action against Daewoo, campaigners in more than 18 countries including Australia, Netherlands, United States, Japan and United Kingdom are staging similar protest rallies in front of the offices of Daewoo international and embassies and consulates of South Korea.

Joining the International Day of Action, Gus Miclat, regional coordinator of Asia Pacific Solidarity Coalition in a statement released today said, "Like any other business inside Burma, this gas project will just result in more human rights abuses in the country including forced labour and forced relocation of communities."

Dr. Myint Cho, director of the Burma office in Australia, in a statement released today said, "We call on Daewoo International to stop its Shwe Gas Project in Burma as the project will support the Burmese military junta, which uses foreign investments to expand its military capacity and consolidate its grip on the people of Burma…"

The youth organisation of the Netherlands' Labour Party will also join the Burma Centre Netherlands, the Burmese community and will organize a demonstration in front of the embassy of South-Korea in The Hague (Netherlands) against Daewoo's plans to build a gas-pipeline in Burma.

Though Mizzima contacted the head office of Daewoo International Corporation in Korea, the office failed to comment on the issue.

Daewoo International Corporation has an agreement with Burma's military regime and two Indian corporations to explore the offshore gas fields of Arakan State in Western Burma, which is believed to have one of the largest gas deposits in Southeast Asia.

Last year, Daewoo signed an agreement with Korea Gas Corporation, India's Oil and Natural Gas Corporation and Gas Authority of India Limited to jointly undertake the exploration of gas fields and construction of gas pipeline from Burma's Arakan state to West Bengal state in India.

While South Korea's Daewoo holds 60 percent stake in the offshore natural gas field in Arakan State in Western Burma, India's ONGC Videsh holds 20 percent, Korea Gas Corporation and GAIL India have 10 percent each in the consortium.

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China gives green light to Myanmar oil pipeline

From BEIJING (AFP)
April 18, 2006
link to this article.

China's planning ministry has approved an oil pipeline linking Myanmar's deep-water port of Sittwe to Kunming in the landlocked southwestern Chinese province of Yunnan, state press said Monday.

The National Development and Reform Commission gave the green light to the project at the beginning of April, the China Business newspaper reported, citing official sources.

The long-expected pipeline would provide an alternative route for China's crude imports from the Middle East and Africa and help reduce its dependence on traffic through the Strait of Malacca.

The paper did not give the cost or the capacity of the pipeline but said construction was slated to begin this year.

It could also serve as a conduit to transport crude to China's populous inland provinces of Yunnan and Sichuan and the Chongqing municipality.

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Malaysian police arrest 82 Myanmar protesters over Daewoo gas project

From Agence France Presse
Tue 18 Apr 2006
link to this article.

Malaysian police on Tuesday arrested 82 activists, mostly from Myanmar but including one Australian, who demonstrated against South Korea's Daewoo International which is exploring gasfields off Myanmar's coast.

Some 100 activists had protested peacefully outside the South Korean embassy in Kuala Lumpur but as they moved to disperse, police detained dozens of them.

"We have 82 arrested altogether. (They) have been arrested for an illegal gathering," local police chief Hasnan Hassan told AFP.

Hasnan said police were still trying to confirm all the nationalities but said one Australian was among the detainees. They would appear before a megistrate's court Wednesday.

Malaysian rights group Suaram, which has been supporting the activists, criticised the arrests.

"It is totally uncalled for because the people had already dispersed and were waiting for a bus to go home," said Suaram coordinator Chang Lih Kang.

Chanting "Daewoo, Daewoo, go away, go away," the protesters said the company's gas exploration would boost revenue for Myanmar's military junta and lead to rights abuses.

"If they invest in my country, there will be human rights abuses and many, many problems," Aung Lwin told AFP.

He alleged the military junta had already forcibly cleared nine villages in the area around a planned gas pipeline.

"Nine villages were moved by the government already and there is forced labour and many problems now," said Aung Lwin, adding the Daewoo protests were carried out worldwide.

Investment company Daewoo International announced in January it had discovered a gas reserve off Myanmar, its second after obtaining exploration rights in 2004.

Daewoo International has a 60 percent stake in the new gasfield, with the remaining shares held by a consortium of Korean and Indian companies.

The activists estimated one of the reserves could generate up to one billion US dollars for Myanmar's government in years to come.

Activists have long campaigned against international companies investing in Myanmar, arguing it will prop up the junta and lead to environmental and rights abuses.

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Shwe Gas activists mark International Day of Action worldwide

Nem Davies
From Mizzima News
April 18, 2006
link to this article.

Marking the International Day of Action on the proposed Shwe Gas pipeline projects, over 100-activists staged a protest demonstration against all the investment partners in Burma today at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi.

The protestors including civil societies, environmental activists and academics agitated against the largest share holder South Korea's Daewoo International Corporation and the second largest share holders, India's largest Energy Companies GAIL and Oil and Natural Gas (ONGC) drilling gas fields off western Burma.

Road and military infrastructure development for the project has started causing large-scale human rights violation and environmental destruction in the pipeline project areas.

The pipeline is supposed to pass through Aakan State, Chin State, Bangladeshi territory along mountain regions ranging from 2,000 meters and higher along the pipeline corridor of Mizoram state in India.

Muan Puia Punte, Vice Chairman of North East Student's Organization (NESO) told Mizzima that, "almost 70 percent of Mizos are aware of the movement but still we need to consult political groups and some Non-Government Organizations in Mizoram."

He also said that they support the movement because the pipeline construction is going to destroy the forests and natural environment as a whole. The suffering would be the same as those of families of Chin people in Burma.

Lianchung, the Secretary of the Anti-Gas Pipeline Committee based in Mizoram pointed out that they "support the anti-pipeline movement for the sake of democracy in Burma. We face social problems like constant inflow of refugees arriving from Burma to our areas."

The protestors in New Delhi marched and shouted slogans like "Daewoo, Daewoo, out of Burma…..ONGC out of Burma" because foreign investments has helped expansion of the military and human rights abuses in the project areas."

The joint statement on Korea said that Korea's own companies and the government had total disregard for the concerns and claims of the international community including the Korean civil society and human rights activists but still more investments were being made in Burma.

Mikyung Choe, the Coordinator of Korean House for International Solidarity (KHIS) told Mizzima that "even though they are aware of the situation in Burma, the Korean government and companies are going ahead for their own benefit and continue to invest. They should stop."

Campaigners worldwide staged massive demonstrations in front of the Korean Embassy in their respective countries including Thailand, Bangladesh, France, Netherlands, Japan, Malaysia, among others

In Malaysia 82 activists including an Australian national were arrested for gathering illegally while 17-Burmese activists in Bangkok, Thailand were detained in the Bangkok Immigration Detention Centre today, said Wong Aung, the President of All Arakan Students’ and Youth Congress (AASYC) based in Thai-Burma border.

The organizers of The Other Media (New Delhi) and Shwe Gas Campaign Committee held a press conference on the Shwe Gas exploration, human rights violations and environmental destruction in the proposed pipeline areas with Indian based media groups today evening at the Gandhi Peace Foundation, New Delhi.

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S Korean Investment in Burma Sparks International Protests

Khun Sam
From The irrawaddy
April 18, 2006
link to this article.

Demonstrators gathered at South Korean embassies and offices of Daewoo International Corp around the world on Tuesday to demand the country stop all investment in the proposed project in military-ruled Burma's Shwe gas fields.

Protestors claimed that the revenue from the project would only bolster the oppressive ruling junta and would do nothing to help impoverished Burmese people, as well as further damage the country’s already fragile environment.

The demonstrations were being held outside Daewoo International offices and South Korean embassies in the US, UK, Sweden, Japan, India, Bangladesh, Malaysia and the Philippines.

Aung Marn Oo, director of the Shwe Gas Pipeline Campaign Committee (Thailand) told The Irrawaddy today that he and about 50 Burmese activists staged a demonstration outside the South Korean embassy in Bangkok, holding signs that read "Daewoo Out of Burma."

According to Aung Marn Oo, the demonstration lasted 30 minutes and included the delivery of a letter to the embassy denouncing the Shwe project. The demonstrators were subsequently arrested. Some 17 of the group remain in custody.

"Despite economic sanctions imposed by the US and other western countries, the junta has been able to survive on the revenues derived from exporting the country's inexhaustible natural resources…and offering slave or cheap labor to foreign companies," the letter stated.

In Malaysia, over 100 people-including Burmese and Malaysian activists-staged a demonstration outside the South Korean embassy in Kuala Lumpur, according to Chang Lih Kang, the coordinator of SUARAM, a Malaysian Human Rights group based in the capital city and who participated in the demonstration.

Chang Lih Kang said that 82 of the demonstrators were arrested for staging an illegal gathering and for entering the country illegally. He added that the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and other NGOs in Kuala Lumpur were negotiating with authorities for their release.

Ko Khin, one of about 70 demonstrators in New Delhi, India said that Burmese and Indian activists organized a two-day seminar at the Gandhi Peace Foundation on the global campaign against the Shwe gas pipeline project.

"This [the Shwe pipeline] will only help support the military regime's survival and lead to increased persecution of opposition groups, including the National League for Democracy and ethnic opposition groups, and the prospect for national reconciliation and democracy will be lost," said Ko Khin.

"The Shwe gas project is a great threat to Burma's rapidly degrading environment," said Ka Hsaw Wa, executive director of Earth Rights International, a participant in the global campaign.

Daewoo holds a 60 percent stake in the Shwe gas field, located in the Bay of Bengal off Burma's Arakan coast. It is expected to begin commercial production in 2010, at an estimated annual profit of US $106 million.

Korea Gas Corp and Gail India each hold a 10 percent stake, while India's ONGC Videsh has an investment of 20 percent.

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Korean firms to mine copper in Myanmar

From The Korea Herald
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
link to this article.

A consortium of Korean companies is pushing to participate in a Canadian company's copper mine development project in Myanmar.

Korea Resources Corp. said it and two other Korean companies - Taihan Electric Wire Co. and Daewoo International Corp. - signed a preliminary agreement in January with Ivanhoe Mines Ltd. to jointly develop a copper mine in Monywa, central Myanmar.

Korea Resources said the Korean consortium plans to buy a 25 percent stake - 10 percent for the state mining firm and 7.5 percent each for Taihan and Daewoo - in the copper mine for $120 million.

A formal contract is likely to be inked in July after a due diligence, Korea Resources said. About 10,000 tons of copper will be shipped to Korea each year once the mine begins production. The Monywa mine is estimated to contain 1.45 billion tons of copper.

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Indian geo-politics experts meet Shwe gas activists

Nem Davies
From Mzzima News
April 17, 2006
link to this article.

A two-day seminar at the Gandhi Peace Foundation began today with over 45-participants including Indian geo politics experts, legal experts, civil societies group, environmentalists, Indian women activists, Indian North East gas campaign activists and Burmese democracy activists.

The discussion at the seminar revolved around the geo-politics of energy led by the Shwe Gas Pipeline Campaign Committee (India) and other media based in New Delhi.

Kim, a coordinator of the Shwe Gas Campaign based in New Delhi said that "we would like to know how to stop gas exploration in Burma through legal issues and how to stop the pipeline project with the help of expert views."

He also said that the seminar is the next step to the movement, which was related to the resent visit of the Indian President A P J Abdul Kalam, because his official tour to Burma led to bilateral signing for energy plants.

The official visit of Indian President Kalam is very significant and it alerted our gas campaign movement for we felt before he departed to Burma that some thing would come about from the trip, he added.

"Moreover the military junta has a partnership with China, Korea and India and now the military government is going to sell gas to Russia," he added.

Carol Ransely, Assistant Director, Earth Rights International based on the Thai-Burma border said "we should inform the Indian government and make people in India aware of the situation in Burma to stop the project given the rampant human right violations in Burma."

She added that they strongly support the movement over gas and encourage the activities because it is related to humanitarian crisis including forced labour, forced relocation. The same experience has been shared during the Yadana Gas pipeline project in Burma.

The Shwe Gas bulletin also stated that the Shwe Gas Project also poses a long-term threat. It is potentially the largest source of revenue for the brutal and repressive military junta, with natural gas deposits at an estimated market value of over US$60 billion.

Indian Professor M. Mohanty pointed to this major source of foreign investment in Burma and said "we know the scale of corruption is very high and the manner of financing the dictatorial regime through the gas projects."

While we have been demanding democratic rights for people in Burma the governments of India, China, and Korea are looking to get gas through pipelines. As long as "the junta is in power one cannot contribute to democratic transition in Burma."

He also proposed that for limited energy resources we needed to use solar energy for long-term energy instead of using oil and gas among others. There needs to be alternative means of energy for human development, dependent on sustainable resources including natural resources.

The International Day of Action is slated for April 18 and over 20-countries will stage massive protest demonstrations against foreign investments including those by Daewoo International, the government of India, South Korea and China. The protest will also be against support provided to the military regime and unacceptable human right abuses and environmental destruction in Burma.

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Oil, gas sector dominates foreign investment in Myanmar

From Xinhua General News Servic
10 Apr 2006

link
to this article.

The oil and natural gas sector is dominating Myanmar's foreign investment with 2.635 billion U.S. dollars out of a total of 7.785 billion dollars of contracted foreign investment as of January this year since 1988 when the country opened to such investment, according to the latest statistics of the Foreign Investment Commission.

The investment in the oil and gas sector, which involves 71 foreign oil companies, is followed by manufacturing, hotels and tourism, real estate and mining.

Despite rich land resources, Myanmar's agricultural sector drew the least amount of foreign investment of 34.35 million dollars. About 70 percent of Myanmar's population depend on agriculture.

With three main 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 latest official figures show that in the first quarter of the fiscal year 2005-2006 which ended in March, Myanmar generated 2.1 million barrels of crude oil and 2.98 billion cubic meters ( BCM) of gas. Gas export during the period was registered as 3.227 BCM with an earning of 359 million dollars.

In the fiscal year of 2004-2005, Myanmar produced 7.48 million barrels of crude oil and 10.69 BCM of gas. Gas export during the year went to 9.5 BCM, earning over 1 billion U.S. dollars mainly through the export.

Thailand's PTTEP and Malaysia's Petronas stood as the two largest investors in Myanmar's oil and gas sector. Others are from Australia, Britain, Canada, China, Indonesia, India, South Korea.

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India studying options of pipeline thru north-eastern states

From STAFF REPORTER
April 08 2006
link to this article.

India is studying the options of a pipeline through its north-eastern states and shipping gas as LNG/CNG from Mayanmar since the proposed pipeline via Bangladesh - the cheapest mode - is practically a dead issue, The Times of India reported recently.

The Indian daily also said that the recent initiative of the Myanmar government to export gas to China from its gasfields irked the Indian government.

Myanmar is taking India for a ride on supplying gas from fields where two Indian state-owned companies hold 30per cent equity, the report said.

While Yangon keeps giving assurances on New Delhi's share, it is going ahead with plans to lay an export pipeline to China in return for soft loans to jack up its own drilling capabilities, said the daily adding that the developments come in the wake of President APJ Abdul Kalam's goodwill visit to Myanmar and India smuggling US suggestions to cut off ties with it.

According to reports, the survey for laying a 2,380-km pipeline to China's Yunan province has been completed. It will start at Myanmar's Kyaukphyu in the Bay of Bengal and terminate at Ruili in China.

According to the report, The survey has been conducted by PetroChina with which Myanmar had signed a gas export MoU without informing New Delhi, even as a senior oil ministry official was waiting in Yangon for talks.

Myanmar told India that the MoU did not imply any 'firm commitment' and it will keep in mind New Delhi's interests.

China, it seems, does not share this view and is going ahead with the plan to lay the pipeline. Its MoU with Myanmar envisages supplying 6.5 tcf (trillion cubic feet) of gas for 30 years from Block A field in which ONGC Videsh owns 20 per cent and Gail 10 per cent.

To cement the deal, China agreed to Myanmar PM's request for a $84-million soft loan during his February 14-18 visit to Beijing. Myanmar intends to use the money for buying two oil rigs to ramp up its pumping capacity.

Myanmar has been getting impatient with India over the delay in settling the transportation issue.

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India to skip Bangladesh to tap Myanmar gas

Pallab Bhattacharya
From New Delhi
Fri, April 07, 2006
link to this article.

India has decided to bypass Bangladesh in its desperate bid to import natural gas from Myanmar and begun the process for an alternative route for receiving the hydrocarbon.

After about a year-long stalemate in talks with Bangladesh, and Myanmar's threat to sell its gas to other countries, India has decided to import the gas from two Myanmarese offshore blocks without touching Bangladesh territory.

The state-owned Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL) has asked a private company to conduct the feasibility studies to transport the gas from Myanmar to be received at Patna, official sources said.

ONGC Videsh Ltd has already taken 20 percent stake and GAIL 10 percent in two blocks of SHWE offshore gas fields in Myanmar. One of these blocks is to start supplying gas to India from 2009.

Another study has been commissioned to assess feasibility of transporting the gas in the form of compressed natural gas (CNG) bypassing Bangladesh, they said.

The reports of the studies are likely by next month, the sources said.

The government took the step as Myanmar raised doubts over India's seriousness in the project and sought "clarifications" urgently on how India proposed to move ahead.

Myanmar has threatened that if India does not decide on the project fast, it would consider selling its gas to some other countries like China and Thailand.

According to an understanding between India, Myanmar and Bangladesh, the construction of an 800-kilometre pipeline was scheduled to start this year. The project was estimated to cost about $2.5 billion (approx Rs 12,000 crore) and gas was to be delivered from 2009.

However, the project got entangled in delay because of Bangladesh's insistence that India meet its certain demands before it allows passage of the hydrocarbon through its territory, the sources said.

Bangladesh demanded duty-free access of its goods to India and transit facility for its goods to Nepal and Bhutan. India however says Bangladesh already has transit facility for its goods to Nepal and Bhutan.

With regard to the duty-free access to Bangladeshi goods, India says it has already given concessions on import of many of the items from the neighbouring country. India cannot give across-the-board concessions, they said.

India argues giving across-the-board concessions could have an adverse impact on domestic industry in certain sectors. Besides, the facility can be misused with some other countries routing their products under this garb.

The sources said this issue was being addressed under the South Asian Free Trade Area (Safta).

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India decides to bypass Bangladesh to get Myanmar gas

From New Delhi
April 6, 2006
link to this article.


With Bangladesh maintaining "negative" attitude with regard to the proposed India-Myanmar gas pipeline passing through its territory, India has decided to by-pass the neighbouring country and started the process for making alternate arrangements for receiving the hydrocarbon.

After about a yearlong stalemate and Myanmar's threat to sell the available gas to other countries, India has decided to transport gas from two offshore blocks in Myanmar via Tripura without touching Bangladeshi territory.

State-owned Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL) has asked a private company to conduct feasibility studies to transport gas from Myanmar to be received at Patna, official sources said.

Another study has been commissioned to assess feasibility of transporting the gas in the form of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) bypassing Bangladesh, they said.

The reports of the studies are expected by next month, the sources said.

The Government took the step after Myanmar raised doubts over India's seriousness in the project and sought "clarifications" urgently on how India proposed to move ahead.

Myanmar has threatened that if India does not decide on the project fast, it would consider selling its gas to some other countries like China and Thailand.

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Burmese oil for Russian missiles

From ABC Radio Australia
05/04/2006
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Burma's government has agreed to allow Russia to share in exploiting oil fields in exchange for weapons.

The Russian financial newspaper Kommersant says the deal has been signed in Moscow between Burma's second most senior figure, General Maung Aye, and Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov.

Kommersant says Burma is seeking Russian help in developing an anti-aircraft system.

The agreement came as the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov received his Burmese counterpart, Nyan Win, describing the two countries as brothers.

It is the first such high level visit to Russia by a Burmese delegation in 40 years.

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Russia, Myanmar to enhance oil cooperation

From Beijing Time
2006-04-04
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Russia and Myanmar are to develop strategic cooperation, particularly in the oil sector, said Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov during his meeting with visiting Myanmar's Vice-Chairman of the State Peace and Development Council Maung Aye in Moscow on Monday.
"We have rubber, gas and oil. We have a lot of prospects for cooperation in this field," Fradkov was quoted by the Itar-Tass news agency as saying, "Russia seeks to expand its participation in the Asia-Pacific region. Thus, Russian-Myanmar relations have good and promising prospects."

Russia and Myanmar signed agreements on cooperation in the oil sector, the fight against drug trafficking and the protection of secret information, Fradkov said.

Russia's oil company Zarubezhneft and the Myanmar Energy Ministry signed a memorandum of understanding. While Maung Aye called on Russian entrepreneurs to invest in Myanmar's economy.

Maung Aye stressed that the two countries are "to deepen friendly relations between our governments, the peoples and the armed forces."

Fradkov said Russia is ready to expand cooperation with Myanmarin all fields and Russia considers its relations with Myanmar "a priority of its foreign economic policy" in Southeast Asia. "We want and we're ready to expand cooperation with Myanmar in all directions."

In addition, the Russian Federal Service for Drug Controlling and Psychotropic Substances Circulation and the Myanmar Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control concluded a document on cooperation in the fight against illicit drug trafficking, psychotropic substances and precursors. The two sides also agreed to develop interaction in the protection of secret information.

Maung Aye is paying an official visit to Russia.

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Russia, Myanmar agree to step up ties

From Bureau Report
Apr 04,2006
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Moscow, Apr 04: Russia and Myanmar on Monday agreed to step up cooperation, including in the oil sector, during the highest-ranking visit here in four decades from the military-ruled nation.

"We are interested in deepening Russia's role in the Asia-Pacific region and Russian-Burmese ties in this context have good and promising prospects," Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov told journalists after meeting General Maung Aye, the number 2 general in the military junta, Itar-Tass reported.

Russia's Zarubezhneft oil company inked a memorandum of understanding with Myanmar's Energy Ministry, one of a number of bilateral documents signed, according to the Interfax and Itar-Tass news agencies.

General Maung Aye called on Russian companies to invest in his country.

"We have rubber, gas and oil and there are many opportunities for cooperation in production," he was quoted as saying by Itar-Tass.

Myanmar wished to strengthen "the friendly relations between our governments, peoples and armed forces," the general said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also met with his counterpart from Myanmar, Nyan Win.

The Foreign Ministry said the two had discussed the importance of a regular dialogue on international and regional problems and interest in cultivating cooperation in fighting terrorism and drug-trafficking.

In a bid to end Chinese monopoly, Russia has also offered to build factories in Myanmar for providing services to Soviet origin military hardware supplied in large quantities to the country.

General Aye also requested Russian companies to invest in his country saying Myanmar has rubber, gas and oil and both the countries should join hands for vast unexplored opportunities.

Since Myanmar has no ready cash for arms purchases, it has offered access to its rich oil and gas deposits, the daily said adding that Russian oil and gas company Zarubezhnef has also signed a memorandum with Myanmar's Energy Ministry in this regard.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also held talks with his Myanmarese counterpart Nyan Win, who is also accompanying General Aye.

The Russian Foreign Ministry later said both sides discussed the importance of regular interaction between the two countries to fight terrorism and drug-trafficking.

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Russia, Myanmar sign agreements on cooperation

From MOSCOW
April 3, 2006
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Russia and Myanmar signed agreements on cooperation in the oil sector, the fight against drug trafficking and the protection of secret information on Monday.

Summing up the results of his talks with Myanmar Vice-Chairman of the State Peace and Development Council Maung Aye, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov said both countries had agreed to develop strategic cooperation, in particular in the oil sector.

Russia's Zarubezhneft and the Myanmar Energy Ministry signed a memorandum on understanding. Maung Aye called on Russian entrepreneurs to invest in Myanmar's economy. "We have rubber, gas and oil. We have a lot of prospects for cooperation in this field," the Russian prime minister stressed.

In addition, the Russian Federal Service for Drug Controlling and Psychotropic Substances Circulation and the Myanmar Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control concluded a document on cooperation in the fight against illicit drug trafficking, psychotropic substances and precursors. The sides also agreed to develop interaction in the protection of secret information.

Fradkov said the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Federation of Myanmar Chambers of Commerce and Industry would sign an agreement on Tuesday, April 4.

Fradkov said Russia is ready to expand cooperation with Myanmar in all fields Russia considers its relations with Myanmar "a priority of its foreign economic policy in Northeast Asia. We want and we're ready to expand cooperation with Myanmar in all directions."

In his words, the visit to Moscow by the Myanmar delegation "will give an additional impetus to the development of relations between our countries."

Maung Aye said, "We feel in Moscow as though we came to our friends. When Myanmar became independent both countries maintain good relations."

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Asia Pulse: Daewoo Int'l to sell development rights to Myanmar gas field

From News, Business / Trade
3 Apr 2006

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Seoul: South Korean trading company Daewoo International Corp. said Monday it has received approval from the Myanmar government to sell part of its stake in a gas field belonging to the Southeast Asian country to three gas companies.

With the move now approved, India's Oil and Natural Gas Corp. will purchase 20 per cent of the development rights in the A-3 block under the waters that lie off the northwestern coast of the country.

Marketing firm Gas Authority of India Ltd. and Korea Gas Corp. will also buy a 10 per cent stake each from Daewoo.

The A-3 block, which measures 6,780 square kilometers, is estimated to carry reserves worth more than 4 trillion won (US$4.11 billion).

Analysts have estimated that there are between 3 and 10 trillion cubic feet of gas underneath the field. One cubic foot equals about 28.3 liters.

The site is also near the Block A-1 site, which the company has been exploring since January 2004.

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Myanmar privatizes nearly 200 state-owned enterprises in 10 years

From KN News Desk
April 03, 2006

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Myanmar has priviatized 194 state-owned enterprises (SOE) as of March this year since the country started the move in 1995, the Weekly Eleven News reported Monday.

Of the enterprises auctioned to private entrepreneurs, 123 were previously owned by the Ministry of Information, according to the government-formed Privatization Commission.

Other privatized SOE include those previously owned by the Ministry of Industry, Ministry of Cooperative, Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Forestry.

Myanamr has since January 1995 been implementing the privatization plan for its SOEs, including those nationalized in the 1960s, in a bid to systematically turn them into more effective enterprises.

The plan is carried out through auctioning, leasing or establishing joint ventures with local and foreign investors.

Myanmar has more than 55,000 factories, of which over 53,000 are private-run.

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Burma's deputy leader in Russia

From BBC NEWS
3 April 2006

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A high-level Burmese team has arrived in Moscow for what Burmese media describe as a goodwill visit.
The delegation is led by the No 2 leader of the Burmese military government, Maung Aye, and includes Foreign Minister Nyan Win.

Details of the discussions to be held between the two sides are unclear.

But Burma is reportedly seeking Russian investment in hydropower and communications projects and perhaps the construction of nuclear power plants.

Nyan Win met his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, to discuss trade and investment.

Burma signed an agreement with Russia in 2002 for assistance in building a research nuclear reactor despite reported safety concerns.

Moscow also sells military hardware to Burma.

Russia's Itar-Tass news agency notes that the presence of Maung Aye in the delegation marks the "first visit of such a high-level" Burmese official to Russia in the history of relations between the two countries.

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Myanmar approves Indian co.'s 10% equity stake

From Asia-Pacific
April 1, 2006
link to this article.

The Myanmar government has approved a 10% equity stake of Indian state gas company Gail Ltd. in the Gulf of Martaban A-3 block, where initial gas discovery was made recently by South Korea's Daewoo International.
Gail had earlier reached an agreement with Daewoo for the 10% stake in the 6,780-sq km block on the basis that it would import the discovered gas.
Gail says it was also the preferred buyer of Daewoo's share of the gas deposit, which was being further appraised with drilling being planned before the end of this year.
A further A-3 gas discovery as well as the reserves of the adjacent A-1 would support its massive gas import plan from the Gulf fields, says Gail.
Gail is to complete a detailed feasibility study of a pipeline, partially onshore through North East India, by end of April 2006.
India would be the second largest market for Myanmar gas, which presently was being exported to Thailand through offshore-onshore pipelines.

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