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December 26, 2008

Myanmar junta signs gas pacts with Chinese, Korean firms
Myanmar military junta and two firms from China and South Korea - the China National United Oil Corporation (CNUOC), and a consortium, led by the Daewoo International Group Corporation, signed an export gas sales and purchase agreement dealing with the Shwe Project Wednesday, reported China’s state news agency Xinhua.

The Shwe gas project, which lies at A-1 block in Myanmar's Rakhine offshore area, has been developed by the Daewoo consortium comprising South Korea Gas Corporation, India's ONGC Videsh Ltd and Gas Authority of India Ltd. (GAIL)

The agreement is a follow-up of a memorandum of understanding signed in Nay Pyi Taw in June this year between the CNPC, Myanmar and the Daewoo consortium on sale and transport of natural gas from offshore blocks A-1 and A-3.

Natural gas deposits were found at block A-1 (Shwe field and Shwephyu field) and block A-3 (Mya field) in the Rakhine offshore area in January 2004 and April 2005 respectively, explored by the consortium of oil companies led by Daewoo with 60 percent-stake. Other companies go to South Korea Gas Corporation (10 percent), ONGC Videsh Ltd of India (20 percent) and GAIL (10 percent).

The Shwe field holds a gas reserve of 4 to 6 trillion cubic-feet (TCF) or 113.2 to 170 billion cubic-meters (BCM), while the Shwephyu 5 TCF and the Mya 2 TCF with a combined proven reserve of5.7 to 10 TCF of gas being estimated by experts.

Myanmar has abundance of natural gas resources in the offshore areas. With three main large offshore oil and gas fields and 19 onshore ones, Myanmar has proven recoverable reserve of 18.012 trillion cubic-feet (TCF) or 510 billion cubic-meters (BCM) out of89.722 TCF or 2.54 trillion cubic-meters (TCM)'s estimated reserve of offshore and onshore gas, experts said, adding that the country is also estimated to have 3.2 billion barrels of recoverable crude oil reserve.

According to the Central Statistical Organization, in the fiscal year 2007-08, Myanmar produced 7.62 million barrels of crude oil and 13.393 BCM of gas.

Statistics also reveal that foreign investment in Myanmar's oil and gas sector had reached 3.243 billion dollars in 85 projects as of the end of 2007 since the country opened to such investment in late 1988, standing the second in the country's foreign investment sectorally after electric power.

In 2007, foreign investment in the oil and gas sector more than tripled to 474.3 million U.S. dollars compared with 2006, accounting for 90 percent of the total during the year which stood505.02 million, according to the Ministry of National Planning and Economic Development.

Currently, 13 foreign oil companies, mainly from Australia, Britain, Canada, China, Indonesia, India, South Korea, Malaysia, Thailand and Russia, are involved in oil and gas projects in Myanmar, according to official sources.

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