Myanmar to Boost Local Firms Involvement in Oil, Gas

Myanmar wants to boost the participation of local companies in oil and gas work in the country in the future, but right now they are not well developed enough to lead exploration and production activities, according to Myanmar's Deputy Minister for Energy.

Speaking to the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston Thursday, U Htin Aung said:

"I have stated before that … in the future we would like our Myanmar companies to work more actively in the oil and gas business. At this moment they do not have the experience or the knowledge…

"So we are bringing them in to work together with foreign companies that have the expertise, and knowledge and technical know-how and all of the financial capabilities, to learn from them and hopefully in the future our domestic companies will be more active in the oil and gas industry of our [country]."

One of the oldest oil producing states in the world, exporting its first barrel in 1853, Myanmar is opening up its oil industry to foreign oil companies after decades of isolation.

Several international oil companies will be the latest firms to get the chance to operate offshore Burma when the company launches only its second bidding round since the easing of US sanctions against the country in June. Myanmar will be inviting bids for 30 offshore oil and gas blocks in this bidding round.

Total, Petronas, CNOOC, CNPC, Essar and ONGC are already among several international oil companies exploring and developing 31 blocks in the country.

A former engineer, Jon is an award-winning editor who has covered the technology, engineering and energy sectors since the mid-1990s. Email Jon at jmainwaring@rigzone.com

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