by Moe Thu
Rangoon (Mizzima) – A Chinese delegation arrived in Rangoon yesterday to discuss the gas pipeline project, which is to link western Burma’s coastal area to China’s Yunnan province and the recent spate of protests against it, said a source in the energy sector.
The China National Petroleum Corporation’s delegation arrived former capital to talk about technical issues with Burmese authorities over the controversial project, which began in mid-September amid criticism by right groups, the source said.
The 980-kilometre pipeline is part of a 30-year natural gas purchase and sale deal CNPC sealed last December with a consortium of the Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise, South Korea’s Daewoo International, ONGC Videsh Limited and Gail (India) Limited.
The strategically important pipeline, which will transmit oil and natural gas from Africa and the Middle East, will shorten the transportation distance, and will pass through Arakan (Rakhine) State, Magwe division, Mandalay division and Yunnan in China. Currently it is transported by tankers through the Malacca strait to China.
The consortium found commercially viable gas deposits in A-1 and A-3 offshore blocks in Burma, which is also known as the Shwe gas project.
In response to the pipeline project, which is having a negative impact on the people – such as forced relocation – along the areas the pipeline is to be built, there have been vehement protests in India, Thailand, the United Kingdom and South Korea.
Shwe Gas campaigners said the project will generate about $ 29 billion over three decades for the Burmese junta.