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Magwe Region to refine crude oil into gasoline

Magwe Region will soon be refining crude oil produced from its hand-dug wells into gasoline, with certain details such as water allocation to be settled before refining can commence.

Magwe’s Minister of Natural Resources, Environment, Electricity and Energy U MyintZaw said arrangements were being made, including giving permission to three companies – Power 95, Myanma Mandai and Pyae Sone Win – to refine crude oil into gasoline. Another two companies will be given permission out of 10 that have applied.

Hand-dug oil wells continues to be a lucrative source of income for regional governments. Magwe has received K14 billion from June 2016 to June 2019, from K7.5 billion during the previous government’s term.

He said 200 acres of land in Pakokku district has been zoned for gasoline production and a rental fee per acre will be worked out. Costing more than US$5 million each, the refineries will produce from 3,000 gallons to 30,000 gallons of gasoline per day. Besides Pakokku, Minbu and Thayat also have hand-dug oil wells.

Magwe Region extended the licenses of 14 blocks of oil-producing areas in the 2018/2019 fiscal year. The regional government gave out 12 licences for new blocks and extended for another 20 blocks in the 2017/2018 fiscal year. In the 2016/2017 fiscal year, there were 11 blocks of new hand-dug wells and 45 old blocks.

“We want these companies to expedite the production as soon as possible. They need to sign with the Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise as a lot of water is used in the refinery process,” U Myint Zaw said.

With the ability to refine crude oil into gasoline, oil produced in the region will not have to be transported to other regions, which has been opened to corrupt practices among district- and township-level staff, as a recent case showed.

Regional governments charge K5,000 per barrel to transport oil. Each truck can carry from 80 to 200 barrels of oil.

Regional governments have been fighting corrupt practices around illegal oil sites, with 88 refineries shut down last year while hand-dug wells in forested areas have also been investigated.

Source: Myanmar Times

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