Petronas exit Yetagun gas project by selling to Gulf Petroleum Myanmar

Petronas, the existing operator of the Yetagun gas project has handed the project over to Gulf Petroleum Myanmar (GPM), Petronas is the exiting operator of the Yetagun gas project, under a partnership with PTTEP and the ENEOS consolidated subsidiary, Nippon Oil Exploration (Myanmar). Other investors in Nippon Oil are the Japanese Government and Mitsubishi Corporation.

On 14 May 2022, the military government launched an invitation for bids for an operator and shareholder in the Yetagun Project with a 20 May deadline, in a rush to replace Petronas.

Other bidders included a company linked to the businessman Shwe Byain Phyu group. Petronas is to complete the handover to GPM after the completion of its Acid Gas Removal Unit (AGRU) project. Petronas previously had a sales purchase agreement with GPM.

Who is Gulf Petroleum Myanmar?

GPM is a private oil and gas company backed by the Thai tycoon Chatchai Yenbamroong, who was an executive in the telephone directory business of former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and an advisor to former Prime Minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh.

Yenbamroong’s business links to the Myanmar military started as early as 1995, when he received a ten-year licence from the military controlled Myanma Posts and Telecommunications to publish the Myanmar Yellow Pages.

GPM is part of the Thailand-based Northern Gulf Petroleum group. Northern Gulf Petroleum is structured through shell companies in Bermuda, according to the GPM website, and has a holding company in Singapore. Chatchai Yenbamroong and Northern Gulf Petroleum have also established offshore companies in the British Virgin Islands, according to the Offshore Leaks database of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

Northern Gulf Petroleum was established in 2004 to bid in the 19th round of oil exploration and production concessions during the Thaksin administration, Thai media has reported. The company won concessions despite Northern Gulf Petroleum’s lack of qualifications, awarded after Thaksin was deposed in a military coup in 2006. Yenbamroong has also invested in oil and mining companies in Canada and Australia.

GPM’s chair is Kyaw Kyaw Hlaing, who is the chair and director of SMART Group of Companies. It was first established in 1994, under Myanmar’s former dictatorship, servicing the military controlled petroleum industry. A second GPM director, Zarni Swe, is a director in subsidiaries of SMART Group of Companies.

GPM director Ni Lwin Soe serves on the board of a number of Yenbamroong’s companies, including Thaisat Global’s Myanmar unit, Northern Gulf Petroleum Myanmar Limited, and Myanmar Gulf LNG Company Limited.

Source: News agencies

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