Shell may be back in Myanmar
After an 18-year absence, Shell may return to Burma’s booming oil and gas sector, according to a report published last week in the Bangkok-based Nation newspaper.
The anglo-Dutch multinational oil giant may partner with Thailand’s state-owned PTT Exploration and Production (PTTEP). PTTEP is seeking to develop Burma’s M11 deep-water offshore block that PTTEP currently wholly owns. In August, PTTEP’s president and chief executive Anon Sirisaengtaksin told the Bangkok Post that PTTEP wanted a partner to assist in the development of M11 because of its challenging location. Referring to M11 Anon told the Post, “The block is located kilometres under the sea, so we really need partners.”
The M11 block is 7,278 square kilometres in size and located South of the Irrawaddy delta in the Gulf of Martaban. If M11 proves to be a viable source of oil or gas, PTTEP and its future partners are expected to use the planned Zawtika pipeline, a project currently under construction, which will send Burmese gas to Thailand from the already proven M-9 block located just north of M11.
Shell is considered a leader in deep water offshore drilling and earlier this year became involved with PTTEP and two other international firms in developing a deepwater concession off the coast of New Zealand.
In October 1989, Shell became the second foreign firm to enter Burma in the post-Ne Win era when it signed an exploration agreement with the ruling State Law and Order Restoration Committee (SLORC). Less than four year later in March 1993, Shell and its wholly owned Burmese subsidiary Myanmar Shell B.V suspended operations in Burma citing “disappointing exploration results" at its Apyauk onshore concession located in the Pegu Yoma region.