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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs     October 13,  2016  

UK Government to strengthen gas sector in Myanmar

A UK Government-supported programme, to strengthen the development of a modern, dynamic oil and gas sector in Myanmar, is to be launched later this month, according to a joint press release from the British Embassy in Yangon and Aberdeen International Associates (AIA).

Mr Gordon McIntosh, Aberdeen City Council’s former Director of Enterprise, Planning and Infrastructure, and now Director and Chairman of AIA, will visit Myanmar from 17-23 October. He will meet with Myanmar’s Government to identify areas where British expertise and experience can help build the capacity of government officials in areas of offshore oil and gas.

AIA will also work with a targeted number of local businesses to identify their capacity and training requirements, including the need for international certification to enable them to tender for contracts from International Oil and Gas companies.  An important part of this work will be to identify which sectors of the industry these businesses would like to move into in the future and then identify the training and certification required to help them achieve success.

The project owes its development to a visit by a senior delegation of Government of Myanmar officials and businesses to Aberdeen, Scotland in September 2015. During the visit the group received a presentation from Mr McIntosh and expressed an interest to learn more about the Aberdeen experience and how it could provide some guidance for Myanmar’s developing industry.  Much of Myanmar’s oil and gas resources are in deep water, where the UK has internationally recognised expertise as a result of North Sea exploration. UK companies are already active in the country. Of the 20 offshore licenses awarded in 2014, 8 went to British companies.

As part of this programme of work, in August 2016 a course on Subsurface Technical Fundamentals was successfully delivered to officials from the Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE) by AIA’s partners in this project, AGR TRACS.

In the meantime a list of UK training and certification companies that are interested in working and supporting development in Myanmar is being drawn up with the aim being to encourage these businesses to travel in the future as part of a UK-Government sponsored delegation.  UK organisations will also be encouraged to partner with local businesses to help develop the sector.

Mr Tony Preston, Head of Prosperity at the British Embassy, said:

“Burma is one of the world’s oldest oil producers. The industry also has historic links to the UK and Scotland in particular. In 1886 the Scottish owned Burmah Oil was the first foreign firm to drill for oil in Burma. But the UK’s interest in Burma’s oil and gas sector is not just historic. In 2016,Burma is already the 10th largest producer of natural gas globally and has potential to move much higher up that list. Today, this sector is the biggest contributor to the country’s national budget, and absolutely essential for its future prosperity.

To maximise its potential, and to keep as much of the jobs and revenue as possible in country, will need the development of domestic expertise in the areas of geoscience, petroleum engineering, but also standards and working practices in procurement, health & safety and quality.

The UK Government, and our private sector, wishes to harness our North Sea experience to support Burma’s Government and industry in developing a world class sub-sea centre of excellence, to develop its own Oil and Gas infrastructure and to enhance the capacity of its business community such that it can play an increasing role in Burma, South-East Asia and the world.”

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It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

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