Weststar unable to start operations despite winning tender process

Weststar Aviation Service, which won a tender for providing helicopter services to offshore oilfields in Myanmar in April last year, is experiencing losses as it has yet to receive approval from the Ministry of Electricity and Energy (MOEE) to start operations, which were meant to have commenced on March 21, said Daw May Thant Zin, Weststar’s local representative,at a press conference in Yangon’s Park Royal Hotel on August 16.

Last year, national oil companies Total and Petronas and PTTEP invited bids for the provision of helicopter services. While companies are able to launch tenders, the winners are still required to apply for approval to operate from the relevant ministries.

In September 2017, Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE), the national oil and gas company of Myanmar, also recognised Weststar as the winner of the tender.

Malaysia-based Weststar won the tender after completing the process as it was able to offer helicopter services at an affordable price of US$22,900 per month, the company said.

However, as it is required in Myanmar to first receive a Letter of Award from the MOEE before commencing operations, Weststar had tried numerous times to contact the ministry but was unsuccessful, said Daw May Thant Zin.

During a meeting in February, U Win Khine, Minister of the MOEE, said it had not approved of the winner as the company has yet to comply with 54 technological factors. As such, the Letter of Award was delayed.

But Daw May Thant Zin said inspections had already been carried out by Total from a technological perspective. In addition, a review by the Department of Civil Aviation also confirmed that Weststar’s services met with international standards.

She said plans to train Myanmar engineers and pilots have already been laid out. They also had plans to donate one helicopter to the government. The company has offered to donate 300 homes to residents in Rakhine State as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility programme.

As a result of the 16 month delay, Weststar has incurred costs totaling more than $3 million and damage to its reputation.

As it turned out, after a report was submitted to the Anti-Corruption Commission in the third week of July, Total has now rescinded its decision to select Weststar as winner of the tender, said Daw May Thant Zin.

“This is not possible without pressure from an authority and we are questioning this change in plans by Total,” she said.

Source: Myanmar Times

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