| YANGON, June 18
YANGON, June 18 Myanmar's earnings from natural
gas exports fell in the last fiscal year as more of the resource
was consumed domestically but shipments of greater volumes to
China as a new pipeline comes up to speed are expected to boost
earnings this year.
Myanmar earned $3.299 billion from the export of gas during
the 2013-14 (April/March) fiscal year, down from $3.666 billion
in 2012-13 and compared to $3.502 billion in 2011-2012 and $580
million in 2003-2004, according to data released on Wednesday by
the state-run Central Statistical Organisation (CSO).
Gas exports are a crucial revenue source for the Southeast
Asian nation, accounting for nearly 30 percent of its total
exports of $11.204 billion in the last fiscal year.
Win Maw, a senior energy ministry official, said the drop in
exports in the last fiscal year was due to the allocation of
more gas for domestic consumption after redrawing the agreement
with Thailand's PTT, previously the sole buyer of gas from
offshore blocks in the Mottama Sea in southern Myanmar.
He said a small amount of the gas was exported during
2013-2014 to energy-hungry neighbour China but more will be
exported this year as a new cross-country pipeline is filled to
"We started selling gas from Rakhine Offshore Blocks to
China through the 793 km-long cross-country pipeline around the
end of last year, but the amount was rather small since it was
not technically feasible to send much through a new pipeline,"
Win Maw told Reuters.
"Technically, we need to fill up a new pipeline with gas
gradually and it takes about a year to fill to capacity. Around
the end this year, we'll be able to transport to China through
the pipeline to full capacity," he said.
Domestic power consumption in Myanmar has been rising
steeply as the country has undertaken economic reforms since a
quasi-military government took office in 2011 after nearly five
decades of military rule.
According to CSO data, total generation of electric power
during the last fiscal year was 13.048 billion kwh, up from
10.964 billion kwh in the 2012-13 fiscal year and 8.625 billion
kwh in 2011-2012.
Generation by gas was 2.794 billion kwh during the last
fiscal, up from 2.377 billion kwh in 2012-13 and 1.763 billion
kwh in 2011-2012.
"As the official data shows, domestic demand for electricity
is growing speedily, but we have prepared to increase generation
to meet the demand without affecting gas exports," a senior
official from the Ministry of Electric Power told Reuters.
(Editing by Ron Popeski and Muralikumar Anantharaman)