Ministry of Energy stays mum on 2016 bidding

Further bidding rounds for offshore oil and gas blocks are likely to come in 2016, though government officials and Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise have so far declined to confirm or deny plans.

Myanmar launched a high-profile offshore bidding round in 2013, eventually awarding 20 blocks to international giants including Chevron, Statoil, Total and Shell.

“We do not have any plans to call for oil and gas bidding this year [2015],” said U Min Min Oo, a director from the Ministry of Energy.

“Instead of starting new bidding rounds, we will closely monitor the operations of current blocks,” he said at a Nay Pyi Taw press conference earlier this month. U Min Min Oo did not respond directly to a question about whether it would launch another round of bidding in 2016.

However, an unnamed official told state-owned newspaper Myanmar Ahlin earlier this month that there are indeed plans for another round of bidding.

“In 2016, we will announce another bidding round for 26 oil and gas blocks, including onshore and offshore. The future bidding rounds aim to supply sufficient energy for domestic use,” the June 2 report said, citing a Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise official.

Following the report, senior Ministry of Energy officials appeared to scramble, with several telling The Myanmar Times they were being told not to speak to the media, but some confirming there are plans for a 2016 tender.

The ministry subsequently held the Nay Pyi Taw press conference, but officials did not discuss exact timing in detail.

“Currently we are working on the joint state-owned ventures with private companies. We will consider more oil and gas bidding when these joint ventures are in stable operations,” said U Min Min Oo.

Myanmar has a total of 104 oil and gas blocks, of which 53 are onshore and 51 are offshore. Presently, there are 16 onshore and 19 offshore blocks in operation, according to the Ministry of Energy’s statistics.

Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise has conducted three bidding rounds for its onshore and offshore blocks since the quasi-civilian government took office in 2011. The first onshore bidding round was launched in 2011 for 18 blocks, of which half went to international companies.

In 2013, a second onshore bidding was launched for 18 blocks, and also the first offshore round, with 30 blocks. Of these, a total of 16 onshore and 20 offshore blocks were awarded.

The production sharing agreements for nearly all of these blocks have now been signed, with only a handful still being discussed.

Besides the three bidding rounds since 2011, the three state-owned enterprises under the Ministry of Energy have been working on a number of foreign-local joint ventures to improve their existing businesses. The joint ventures, in areas such as jet fuel imports and refinery upgrades, are largely still being worked on.

U Min Min Oo said there are 15 open onshore blocks and 13 open offshore blocks at present that are open for future rounds of bidding.

“We will let the media know in advance of bidding, in order to be transparent,” he said.

Currently, onshore fields produce about 8000 barrels of crude oil and 55 million cubic feet per day of natural gas, while about 7000 barrels of condensate and about 2 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas are produced offshore in Myanmar.

According to statistics from the Myanmar Investment Commission, since 1988, about $17 billion in foreign direct investment has been pledged to the oil and gas sector.

Source: Myanmar Times

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