SEOUL – A Myanmar gas consortium led by South Korea’s Daewoo International plans to invest about $US5.6 billion in a 30-year natural gas supply deal with China, a member of the group has said.
Under the agreement, the consortium will sell natural gas to China’s top state oil and gas firm, China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC), from the Shwe and ShwePhyu fields in Burma’s A-1 offshore block and Mya field in A-3 offshore block, starting from 2013.
The fields will have a peak daily supply of 500 million cubic feet, or about 3.8 million tonnes annually.
Daewoo has a 51 per cent stake in the consortium and the other shareholders are India’s Oil and Natural Gas Corp with 17 per cent, Burma Oil & GAs Enterprise with 15 per cent, India’s GAIL with 8.5 per cent, and Korea Gas Corp with 8.5 per cent.
Daewoo will spend 2.1 trillion won ($US1.68 billion) in initial investment for five years until 2014 and KOGAS would spend $US299 million, the two firms said in separate statements.
A KOGAS official said total investment by the consortium would amount to about $US5.6 billion including $US4.6 billion in initial spending.
The consortium will undertake production and offshore pipeline transportation, while land transportation to China will be jointly managed with the China National United Oil Corp (CNUOC).
Chinese media have said the consortium and CNUOC planned to build oil and gas pipelines through Myanmar and into China’s southwestern Yunnan province, bypassing the long journey around the Malacca Strait for oil cargoes and solving the problem of getting the gas to market.
Myanmar will also be able to tap the pipeline running across its territory to promote economic development once the gas starts flowing.
Few Western companies will invest in Myanmar because of its poor human rights record and continued detention of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, which has led to a broad range of US and European sanctions.
China, typically wary of supporting or imposing sanctions and one of Myanmar’s few diplomatic allies, has shown no qualms about investing in its neighbour, eager for its natural gas, oil, minerals and timber to feed a booming economy.
On Monday, China’s Sinopec Corp, the world’s second-largest oil refiner, said it would spend 120 billion yuan ($US17.57 billion) in each of the next two years and seek acquisition opportunities in exploration and production.