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Myanmar unrest: oil companies come under pressure

Special Correspondent

OVL has $150 m investment plans in three blocks in Myanmar

NEW DELHI: Notwithstanding the official optimism, the emerging violent situation in Myanmar and increasing civilian protests can adversely impact the exploration operations of Indian oil and gas companies and efforts to seek pipeline laying contracts.

“We have a good understanding with the Myanmar Government and we are confident that Indian companies will do big business there in the direction of seeking energy security for the country,” Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Murli Deora, who returned from a two-day visit to Myanmar early this week, said here on Friday.

ONGC Videsh Limited (OVL) had signed production sharing contracts (PSCs) for three blocks in Myanmar with an investment target of $150 million. The PSCs could come under pressure and work on these exploratory efforts could suffer a setback in view of the unrest. On its part, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) said it was under no pressure to withdraw or freeze operations in Myanmar.

Asked if his company was under pressure to go slow or freeze operations in Myanmar, ONGC Chairman and Managing Director R. S. Sharma replied in negative. ONGC has stakes in two gas fields and three exploration blocks off Myanmar.

The company holds 20 per cent stake in gas discovery blocks A-1 and A-3, operated by South Korea’s Daewoo International. “We are not the operators in the gas fields. I cannot say anything at present. We have to wait and see,” he added

GAIL (India) is also engaged in exploration and production operations in A-1, A-2 and A-3 gas blocks in Myanmar. GAIL Officials said the recent developments in Myanmar and the continued unrest would certainly hamper operations in these blocks and hoped the situation would not take a turn for the worse.

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