Australia's Woodside moves into Myanmar to seek oil, gas

MELBOURNE Thu Oct 18, 2012 8:06pm EDT

MELBOURNE Oct 19 (Reuters) - Woodside Petroleum has reached a deal to explore for oil and gas in Myanmar with South Korea's Daewoo International Corp, giving the Australian firm a foot in the door in what is seen as a highly promising new oil and gas frontier.

Woodside said on Friday that Daewoo has agreed to give it a 40 percent stake in a production sharing contract in Block AD-7 in the Rakhine Basin, in the western offshore area of Myanmar, next to Daewoo's Shwe field development.

The deal gives Woodside a leg up over other western energy companies eager to get into Myanmar, which is opening up after nearly 50 years of military rule.

"The Rakhine deep water basin is an exciting frontier exploration area," Woodside Chief Executive Peter Coleman said in a statement.

Woodside is among several companies, including ConocoPhillips, Hess Corp, Royal Dutch Shell , BP and BG Group, lining up to get into Myanmar, through a planned oil and gas exploration tender.

Woodside declined to comment on the tender, which the government recently postponed in order to ensure it met strict standards on transparency, environmental protection and social impacts expected by western companies.

Daewoo and Woodside plan to run seismic tests in 2013 and 2014 on the Rakhine block, with an option to drill an exploration well later.

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