Exploration proceeds off Myanmar as crisis boils

Exploration work on Myanmar's Block M9 in the Gulf of Martaban is progressing "normally," according to Thailand's majority state-owned PTTEP, despite Myanmar's biggest street protests in 20 years.

Oct 17th, 2007

By an OGJ correspondent
BANGKOK, Oct. 17 -- Exploration work on Myanmar's Block M9 in the Gulf of Martaban is progressing "normally," according to Thailand's majority state-owned PTT Exploration & Production PLC, despite Myanmar's biggest street protests in 20 years. A major natural gas discovery was made on the block, which lies 300 km south of Yangon, just a week before the violent crackdown on demonstrations began.

Four exploration and four appraisal wells have already been drilled on Block M9, and plans are afoot to drill an additional four to five appraisal wells to confirm petroleum reserves. Drilling will take place between December and April 2008 (OGJ Online, Aug. 15, 2007).

Exploration results have confirmed the commercial potential of Block M9, and PTTEP executives indicated earlier that 300 MMcfd could be brought on stream in 2011 or 2012 (OGJ Online, May 23, 2007).

PTTEP has held a Block M9 production-sharing contract with Myanmar since 2003 and holds 100% interest in the block.

Meanwhile, Thai Energy Minister Piyasvasti Amranand has postponed talks with the current Myanmar regime for purchase of gas from the block. The crisis is complicating negotiations, which are not expected to begin any time soon.

However Piyasvasti reiterated Thailand's intention to secure more gas supplies from Myanmar when the kingdom can ensure that any deal will be secure.

Thai officials indicated the talks could wait until PTTEP fully completes its exploration program.

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