Onshore natural gas delivery from Myanmar to Thailand has been suspended after a leak in the pipeline was discovered in Dawei on the Myanmar side on Monday.
Thailand’s PTT Exploration and Production Public Company Limited (PTTEP), which jointly drills and delivers gas under the project, confirmed the leakage and temporary suspension in a statement.
“The preliminary investigation found no trace of explosion or fire,” it said, addressing initial concerns that the leak may have been caused by an attack by anti-regime resistance groups active in the area.
The natural gas drilled at the offshore Zawtika Project in the Gulf of Mottama in Myanmar is channelled to the Zawtika Operation Center (ZOC) in Kanpauk Township in Dawei, Tanintharyi Region in Myanmar’s deep south.
The offshore project is jointly developed by Thailand’s PTT Exploration and Production Public Company Ltd (PTTEP) and Myanmar state-owned Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE). A production-sharing contract was signed in 2003 and gas was discovered in 2007.
Under that contract, around 70 percent of the natural gas channelled to ZOC is rerouted to Kanchanaburi, Thailand, for electricity. The remaining gas is converted into electricity for domestic consumption.
Local residents said the pipeline leakage happened in an area between Michaung Laung Village and Eainna Yarzar Village near Kaleinaung town in Dawei at 3 a.m. on Monday.
They also said the Myanmar military’s No. 285 Light Infantry is stationed in the area to provide security along the pipeline.
A spokesperson from the local resistance group in Kanpauk, the Kanpauk Defense Force, told The Irrawaddy that it didn’t attack the pipeline.
“There are regime forces along the pipeline. We have nothing to do with the leak,” he said.
The pipeline repairs will take two weeks, according to the company.
After U.S. firm Chevron and French firm TotalEnergies withdrew from the Yadana gas field under international pressure from human rights groups to cut financial ties with the Myanmar junta in January 2022, PTTEP decided to take over the running of the vital gas field.