Oil block announcements on the way

After three months of waiting, the winners in the offshore oil and gas bidding competition are finally set to be announced next month, the Ministry of Energy said.

U Htay Aung, the ministry’s chief staff officer, told The Myanmar Times on February 19 that the choice would be announced before the fiscal year ends on March 31.

Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE) invited tenders for 30 offshore blocks in April, attracting interest from a total of 75 international oil and gas firms, but after the ministry released a pre-qualified list of 61 companies in July, only 30 produced proposals.

“The evaluation of the final proposals was done last December, but the final decision will be made at the minister level, or the president,” said MOGE director U Than Min.

Top oil and gas firms in the running include global giants such as Chevron, Total and Shell.

International oil and gas companies had sent 42 proposals for shallow-water blocks and 22 deep-water blocks in the final stage, said U Than Min.

“The government seems to be taking these important bids seriously,” said U Kyaw Kyaw Hlaing, chair of the oil and gas service Smart Group of Companies.

The companies have to invest at least US$3billion after production-sharing contracts are signed with MOGE, after which the winners will get 30-year licences to explore and produce oil and gas offshore, he said.

Seven international oil and gas companies are already conducting exploration, while production projects are already in place for 18 of the total 51 offshore blocks.

Industry experts put annual revenues earned from Myanmar’s oil and gas industry at $4 billion, though the government has never released official figures.

Last year, the Ministry of Energy ruled that foreign firms had to work with at least one local partner in the exploration and production of oil and gas, both onshore and offshore.

The surge in foreign interest promoted growth in the number of Myanmar companies registered with the Ministry of Energy. A total of 162 local companies have been registered as of early this year.

Currently the country has a total of 104 onshore and offshore blocks, in which 18 international oil and gas companies are in operation in 33 onshore and offshore blocks.

Source: Myanmar Times

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