Myanmar delays gas exports to certify reserves

Eric Watkins
Senior Correspondent

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 22 -- Myanmar will delay any decision on exporting natural gas to India pending the full certification of reserves in its offshore fields.

U. Soe Myint, director general of the energy planning division for the country's ministry of energy, said current gas reserves would not support the exportation of gas to India either via pipeline or in the form of LNG.

Myint said about 4.8 tcf of gas reserves has already been certified in offshore Block A-1, but the estimate for Block A-3 won't be ready until appraisal drilling is completed in May.

Myint said the two blocks will be linked and developed together. He said Myanmar would use the gas first for its own consumption and then for exports, if sufficient supplies are available.

The statement follows the release last week of figures showing that Myanmar's offshore Block A-1 may hold recoverable reserves of 4 tcf of gas, less than half of that previously indicated.

Industry sources said UK-based Gaffney Cline & Associates undertook third-party certification of the reserves in the block, which is operated by Daewoo of South Korea. They said the best estimate of recoverable reserves at A-1 is 4 tcf and the high estimate is 10 tcf.

Daewoo last year completed a 12-well exploratory and appraisal drilling program on Block A-1, and in September hired Gaffney to carry out a third party certification of the reserves.

While Myanmar authorities previously had put a figure of 19 tcf as a gas resources base for Block A-1, independent certification has recoverable reserves of as much as 8.6 tcf.

Reports said of the four prospects—Shwe, Shwe Phyu, Shwe Nilar, and Ngwe—recoverable reserves were found only in Shwe and Shwe Phyu. Two exploratory wells each on the Shwe Nilar and Ngwe prospects turned out to be dry.

Myint's statement also follows reports that India on Jan. 14 reached agreement with Myanmar and Bangladesh for a multibillion-dollar pipeline to transport gas from Myanmar's offshore and onshore gas reserves.

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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