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Myanmar is accepting bids for 18 onshore oil blocks in its second, according to UPI.com. Myanmar is said to have anywhere from 11 trillion – 23 trillion cubic feet in natural gas reserves. It is also said to have 50 million barrels of crude oil reserves, according to the EIA.
This creates a huge investment opportunity for energy giants to tap into the resource rich nation.
Myanmar was isolated from the west for a long time. While Asian companies from China and India tapped into its resources, western companies were prevented from doing so until sanctions against the country started being lifted in the first half 2012.
By June it was reported that General Electric and Chevron were pushing to get a licence by the end of 2012. And their eagerness was understood. Chevron for instance has held a controversial stake in Yadan gas field and a natural pipeline but couldn’t expand its operations because of U.S. sanctions.
Interested companies can bid for three blocks but have to partner with the State owned Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE) or one other state-owned enterprise.
Western companies have been wary of partnering with MOGE, which is still said to have close ties with the former regime that reportedly made secret arrangements to “sell gas to China and Thailand, and is associated with the controversial Chinese pipelines being built through Burma to China,” according to The Irrawaddy.
MOGE was blamed for the Ministry of Energy’s decision to postpone the auction of new offshore blocks in September last year.
Companies have two months to make a bid. The sites being auctioned account for a third of Myanmar’s 50 onshore blocks.