Energy Advisor Woos Investors, But Hints at “Dark Forces”

U Soe Myint, a national energy sector advisor to the Asian Development Bank and former director general of Ministry of Energy’s Energy Planning Department, told a business seminar that more foreign investment is needed in the oil and gas sector, but they should be aware of uncertainty.

He said that in addition to oil exploration, ancillary industries were greatly needed, especially construction, road building, marine services and refining.

“We will be needing the downstream oil and gas processing facilities, because the ministry of energy claimed that for all the future discoveries of natural gas, it has to be first refined in Myanmar. We need to do some processing so that value can be added,” U Soe Myint said.

However, he also hinted at the inherent instability of the Myanmar market this year.

“We have a prediction of the economic estimates from the World Bank. They say if all the things are in good order, if it is a golden era scenario, the growth rates until 2020 will be 8.5 percent. Of course, we have dark forces. If we have an election that does not go well, the government will not be in this sort of shape. But we are all hoping it is going to be a golden era.”

Oil and gas forms the largest amount of foreign investment in the company, at $19.6 billion, which is over one third of total investments in the country.

U Soe Myint emphasised the importance of the controversial export to the country. “We have developed four other gas projects, which are also exporting gas to Thailand and China. This gas has also been very instrumental in making Thailand where it is now today. Back in 1985, Thailand was consuming only about 200 million cubic feet a day, now it consumes about 5 billion cubic feet a day, a quarter of which is coming from Myanmar.”

“It is true that Myanmar is not as developed as our neighbours. But yet, I can say that because of this gas export, we are here as it is now. Without gas export, we would be nowhere on the map.”

Source: Myanmar Business Today

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