The Anglo-Dutch firm and its Japanese partner Mitsui Oil Exploration signed production sharing contracts with Myanmar in February for blocks AD-9 and AD-11 in the Rakhine basin, and MD-5 in Tanintharyi basin.
The firms won the blocks as part of the 2013 offshore bidding round, which saw 20 blocks won by several international companies.
Graeme Smith, Shell vice president for exploration Asia and Australia, said the firm has now completed its environmental and social impact assessment surveys, and is waiting for permission from authorities to start the surveys.
Mr Smith added that the seismic exploration surveys will start on all three blocks in October on about 10,000 square kilometres (3861 square miles). Seismic exploration involves taking images of rock types in an effort to locate oil and gas deposits.
Shell opened its Yangon office last week, about six months after signing the production sharing agreements. The office will handle the company’s upstream and downstream activities.
Shell and its partners have committed to investing US$1.2 billion over eight years to explore the three deepwater blocks. Ministry of Energy figures previously provided to The Myanmar Times show this is the largest dollar amount, ahead of the closest companies BG and Woodside, which pledged $1.08 billion to jointly explore four blocks.
The three are considered deepwater, with depths of 1800 to 2700 metres, covering a total of 21,000 sq km. AD-9 is 4290 sq km, AD-11 is 4780 sq km and MD-5 is 2680 sq km.
The AD-9 and AD-11 blocks are located near shallow-water blocks A-1 and A-3, which is the site of Daweoo International’s Shwe Gas project. Shwe Gas began production in 2013.
“The geological setting of AD-9 and AD-11 are very similar to Shwe Gas, and there is a large potential that there are oil and gas reserves in the blocks,” said an official from Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise.
Royal Dutch Shell was one of the Western energy companies that had operated in Myanmar, leaving as international sanctions ramped up in the 1990s. It is now working in upsteam, downstream and liquefied natural gas (LNG) businesses in the country.
The firm last month signed a joint development agreement with large Thai construction company Italian-Thai Development and LNG Plus International to develop an LNG receiving and re-gasification terminal at Dawei special economic zone. It has also been distributing lubricants for three years through its local partner Que Holdings.
Source: Myanmar Times