Mon State Locals Rally Against Offshore Supply Base

By Hintharnee 24 May 2017

MOULMEIN, Mon State — Locals of two villages in Mon State’s Ye Township have opposed plans for an offshore supply base (OSB) aimed at supporting oil and gas fields in the Mottama Gulf.

People from Inn Din and Ngaphan Sakhan villages say they will reject any new projects until a proposal for a 1,280-megawatt coal-fired power plant led by Thailand-Japan consortium Toyo-Thai Public Co Ltd (TTPCL) near the village is scrapped. Plans for the power plant have been suspended since May 2015 due to strong opposition from locals.

Resident Ma Ni Mar Oo told The Irrawaddy that locals from all nine villages in the area rejected the OSB at a meeting on May 23.

Mon State-based Forever Thanlwin Co would build the OSB, which would include berths with cranes and lifting equipment, as well as warehouses and rescue helicopter facilities.

Nearly 70 acres of land in Inn Din and Ngaphan Sakhan villages would be used for the OSB, a project that would draw more than US$60 million in investment, according to U Zaw Min Aung, managing director of Forever Thanlwin Co.

“We would be able to figure out an exact figure if we could conduct a field survey, which we still can’t do because of opposition from the locals,” U Zaw Min Aung told The Irrawaddy.

The firm’s employees planned to tell residents more about the project, but were forced to cancel the meeting on May 20 because of local opposition. Residents see the OSB as a precursor to the coal-fired power plant, according to Ashin Nanda, the abbot of Inn Din.

“We’ve studied coal-fired power plants in Thailand and found there are berths wherever there are plants,” he said. “It is only convenient to bring in coal when there are berths. That’s why locals are concerned that plans for the plant will continue after the berths are built.”

U Zaw Min Aung denied any connection between the OSB project and the coal-fired power plant.

Forever Thanlwin Co has implemented government-funded regional development projects and road construction projects since 2012, he said, and is currently building houses in Ye Township.

U Zaw Min Aung claimed to own the area needed for the OSB, and added his attempt to operate a quarry there in 2012 was abandoned because of opposition from the locals over environmental concerns.

He began making plans to operate an OSB in 2013 when the state-owned Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise allowed private companies to run OSBs.

The project aims to supply food, equipment, technology, and emergency rescue services for Ye Tagun and Zawtika oil and gas fields and exploration sites in the Mottama Gulf, he added.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.