Myanmar Faces Challenges Developing its Upstream Assets

“We invite companies one by one for detailed discussions on the PSCs with MOGE [Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise] … At least three months after [detailed discussions with the companies] before the PSCs can be signed as there is a need to get approvals from the relevant authorities,” Khin Aye, director of Energy Planning Department and Ministry of Energy, told Rigzone.

As a result, MOGE and the contractors do not expect to sign PSCs for the 20 offshore blocks until August, at the earliest. Once these PSCs have been concluded, the contractors will have half a year to complete environment and social impact assessments in their respective offshore blocks, Khin said.

Challenges Ahead for Myanmar

Myanmar takes the public’s concerns about environmental impact assessment (EIA) and social impact assessment (SIA) seriously, especially during this period where reforms in the political and economic spheres are being undertaken in the country.

“Today Myanmar is in a transitional period ... land acquisition, market share, environmental concerns … Most popular issues are EIA and SIA. These can become political issues and are expected to be carried out by the industry,” Than Tun, director (Offshore Exploration) at MOGE said at OTC Asia recently.

Woodside is among a handful of major oil firms, including Total and Malaysia’s Petroliam Nasional Berhad’s subsidiary Petronas Carigali, who already has a presence in Myanmar’s upstream petroleum sector. The Australia-based firm is expanding its presence in the largely underexplored offshore areas in Myanmar.

“The entry into A-7, AD-5, A-4 and AD-2 builds on our existing position in the Rakhine Basin through interests in Production Sharing Contracts for Blocks A-6 and AD-7. It supports Woodside’s efforts to grow the scale and long-term value of our Myanmar and global exploration business,” Woodside commented in an April 17 press release.

The absence of active exploration in the Myanmar’s offshore blocks, particularly those in deepwater, meant that seismic data was not available for companies to use as reference for their exploration activities.


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