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Myanmar news roundup

Myanmar has seen a significant increase in foreign investment in recent months, particularly in the oil and gas market. A number of investors have revealed partnerships to explore for oil and gas.

These investments bode well for the Myanmar's economic future, and also point towards the nation being a key player in the oil and gas industry in the years to come.


Reliance Industries nets deal for two offshore blocks

Reliance Industries (RIL) has signed a production-sharing contract with Myanmar Oil & Gas Enterprise (MOGE), a state-owned venture, for two offshore blocks in Myanmar's Tanintharyi basin. Covering an area of 27,600 sq km, these blocks (M17 and M18) have a water depth of over 900 m.

RIL originally netted the blocks in 2013 in a round of competitive bidding, and will have a 96 per cent participating interest. The Indian energy company has made the move in a bid to enhance its international assets, which is currently a key business strategy for the company.  

"RIL's participation is in line with its strategy to expand its international asset base by investing in internationally attractive oil and gas destinations. The company in this way will leverage its organisational capabilities and expertise to create value for the E&P segment," the company outlined in a statement.

A Myanmar-based firm, United National Resources Development Services Co, will hold the remaining interest in the two blocks.


Unocal Myanmar Offshore Co signs Myanmar PSC

A subsidiary of Chevron Corporation, Unocal Myanmar Offshore Co, has signed a production sharing contract (PSC) with the national oil and gas company MOGE. The arrangement will see Unocal explore for oil and gas in the Rakhine Basin approximately 200 km off the northwest of Yangon. The company will hold a 99 per cent interest in the operation, with Myanmar-based Royal Marine Engineering holding the final one per cent.  

Covering 10,600 sq km, Block A5 will be investigated for its energy potential, with the energy potential of the country being an important focus for parent company Chevron.

Managing director of Chevron South Asia Business Unit Brad Middleton commented: "Chevron is committed to exploring Myanmar's energy potential. The exploration of this block is aligned with Chevron's long-term strategy to find and develop resources that will help meet the growing energy needs in the Asia Pacific region."

The agreement expands Unocal's existing partnership with MOGE, and marks the beginning of the next step of the Chevron subsidiary's 20-year history in Myanmar.


Bibby Offshore Singapore secures contract with MGTC

Bibby Offshore Singapore, the Asian division of Bibby Offshore, has announced a contract with the Moattama Gas Transportation Company (MGTC). The deal will see Bibby Offshore Singapore carry out ROV pipeline inspection and remedial work, as well as any necessary related project management, on the Yadana field in offshore Myanmar.

The project began on February 16th and is set to span 60 days. It will utilise the DP2 ROV support vessel Bibby Spring, which is equipped with the latest technologies. The measures will be carried out to a water depth of 146 m.

"This contract validates our ability to successfully deliver subsea projects, and Bibby Offshore Singapore is delighted to be building on our working relationships in the South East Asia region," stated managing director of Bibby Offshore Singapore Peter Hughes, who also noted that the company has a "longstanding relationship" with MGTC's majority stakeholder, Total.

This is not Bibby Offshore Singapore's only recent success in the region. Indeed, the company netted a contract with Seascape to provide ROV services earlier this year.


Oil and gas industry makes up bulk of foreign investment in Myanmar

Foreign direct investments (FDI) have soared in the past fiscal year, according to the Myanmar Investment Commission. Speaking to Reuters, head of the state-run organisation Aung Naing Oo revealed that not only has FDI increased significantly to $8.1 billion, but also that this rapid expansion has largely been fuelled by investment in the nation's energy sector.

This figure far exceeds Myanmar's target of netting $5 billion for the 2014/2015 financial year, and represents huge growth from 2013/2014's FDI total of $4.1 billion. Aung Naing Oo revealed that some 35 per cent of the nation's entire FDI went into the energy sector, giving it the majority share. Manufacturing and communications were the closest followers, with 25 per cent each.

Within the energy sector, it was oil and gas that saw the most activity - something that can easily be seen in the previously noted investments by major firms RIL and Chevron. Being one of the region's last relatively untapped energy sources, Myanmar certainly looks set to be the industry's location to watch in the coming months.

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