RANGOON — Thailand’s biggest oil and gas company PTT Exploration and Production (PTTEP) announced on Tuesday that it will invest US$3.3 billion in Burma over five years.
The Thai national oil and gas company has been working in Burma since 1989, and has been granted seven offshore and onshore oil and gas exploration or production contracts by the Burmese government.
In a press conference in Rangoon on Tuesday, PTTEP Chief Executive Officer Tevin Vongvanich said that the company will make the significant investment in Burma in the five years from 2015. He said that by 2020, PTTEP would produce energy equivalent to 600,000 barrels of oil per day in the country.
PTTEP is working in four offshore areas, or blocks, in the Gulf of Martaban—M9 (Zawtika), M3, M11, MD7 and MD8—as well as three onshore oil and gas projects in central Burma.
PTTEP also holds a 25 percent stake in the Yadana gas field and 19 percent of the Yetagun field. The two offshore natural gas projects being developed by Total of France and Petronas of Malaysia, respectively, in partnership with the Burma government’s Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise.
“The M9 block, known as the Zawtika offshore block, will be supplying natural gas for local areas within a few weeks, it will [initially] provide 100 million cubic meter per day [for Burma],” Tevin told reporters.
In its first phase, the Zawtika offshore block will produce 300 million cubic meters per day in total, he said.
But the majority of the gas produced will be exported to Thailand, since oil and gas contracts signed by Burma’s former military government allow most of the hydrocarbons extracted here to be sold overseas. Since a nominally civilian government took power in 2011, officials have promised that in future oil and gas deals, Burma’s energy needs will be met before energy is exported.
“We consider Myanmar as our second home,” said Tevin. “Recently PTTEP has been drilling and exploring more in the M3 and Zawtika blocks to provide natural gas for the local market, and we will keep continue exploration activities for the possible development of some blocks in Myanmar.”
When the Zawtika project starts to supply gas to Thailand via a new pipeline, Burma will become the biggest gas supplier to Thailand.
A Burmese government tender to award new exploration contracts for 11 shallow-water and 19 deepwater offshore blocks closed in November, and the winners are expected to be announced at the end of March.
Tevin said PTTEP was bidding for one new block, but said that he could not go into details about the bid.