Petronas, PTT consider building Myanmar NGL plant

BANGKOK--The Thai and Malaysian state oil firms have teamed up to study the viability of building a $150 million NGL separation plant in Myanmar. The proposed facility would extract propane and butane from natural gas piped from Yetagun-Myanmar's second largest gas field, located in the Gulf of Martaban-to make LPG.

Petroleum Authority of Thailand (PTT) and Malaysian state oil firm Petronas are reviewing the feasibility of a plant capable of processing 250-300 MMcfd of natural gas with an LPG output of 200,000-300,000 tonnes/year. The complex would be located in southern Myanmar, on the Daimensek coast in Mon state, where the 210-km offshore pipeline from Yetagun field comes ashore, said Prasert Bunsumpun, president of PTT Gas, a unit of PTT.

According to Prasert, part of the LPG from the proposed plant-the first of its kind in Myanmar-would be sold domestically, where LPG is a much sought-after form of household fuel for cooking. Some of the LPG output would be exported to neighboring countries, but not to Thailand, which is self-sufficient in LPG.

Prasert said further details of the project would be available in September upon completion of the feasibility study.

PTT and Petronas hope to include Burmese state firms¿including Myanma Oil & Gas Enterprise-as partners in the project, although formal discussions have yet to take place.

PTT and Petronas are looking at Yetagun gas for separation, rather than gas from Yadana, the country's largest gas field, because the qualities of Yetagun gas are more suitable. The proposed gas separation plant would create added value for the Yetagun gas stream, which has officially begun to flow to Thailand through an onshore cross-country pipeline.

The full take-or-pay contract requires PTT to take 200 MMcfd of gas from the pipeline, but PTT, the sole gas buyer, has not been able to take all the contractual rate because of a delay in the construction of Ratchaburi power plant and a domestic west-east gas pipeline.

Petronas is a partner in the $650 million Yetagun gas field development, which is led by Britain's Premier Oil PLC. Partners include Japan's Nippon Oil Co. and PTT Exploration & Production PLC of Thailand. Proved reserves at Yetagun have risen from an estimate of 1.1 tcf to 2.92 tcf. The 165% increase, determined by DeGolyer & MacNaughton, came as a result of additional drilling last year.

The proposed NGL fractionator would be the second natural gas infrastructure project revealed for Myanmar. The Burmese military junta recently approved a project by a three-company consortium led by Unocal Corp. involving a $200 million gas pipeline from Yadana to an onshore location near Rangoon to fuel power plants (OGJ Online, July 11, 2000).

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