* PTTEP gets two onshore blocks in Myanmar-minister
* Thailand, Myanmar plan gas separation plant in Myanmar
* Myanmar energy minister to visit Thailand in Feb
(Adds quotes, details)
By Pracha Hariraksapitak
BANGKOK, Dec 21 Thailand's top oil and gas
explorer, PTT Exploration and Production Pcl (PTTEP),
has won bids for two onshore petroleum blocks in Myanmar, Thai
Energy Minister Pichai Naripthanphan said on Wednesday.
"We won two, that's for sure," Pichai told reporters after a
visit to Myanmar, adding the blocks were close to the capital,
Pichai returned to Thailand late on Tuesday after
accompanying Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to the former
Burma, which is opening up under a nominally civilian government
after years of isolation.
PTTEP, which ranks among Asia's top 10 explorers and
competes with big Chinese oil firms such as CNOOC and
Sinopec, had expressed interest in bidding for up to
"We were told about this by Energy Minister U Than Htay, but
in terms of further details, we will have to wait for an
official announcement from the authority over there later."
Foreign firms that succeed in bids to develop 18 new onshore
oil and gas blocks will be required to set up joint ventures
with local companies, a Myanmar Energy Ministry official said in
During a Dec. 18-20 trip to the former British colony,
Pichai discussed other potential oil deals, including the PTT
group's interest in investing in the offshore MD7 and
Thailand and Myanmar have tentatively agreed to invest in a
gas separation plant in Myanmar over the long term, he said.
International investment in Myanmar has been limited until
now because of sanctions imposed for human rights abuses under
the former military regime, but hopes of economic reform and
increased foreign investment are running high after U.S.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's recent visit.
China, Thailand, India and Singapore are among the biggest
investors there at the moment.
PTTEP, a flagship in the upstream petroleum exploration
business of PTT, has about 40 oil and gas exploration and
development projects. It has four projects in Myanmar and is a
minority partner in the Yetagun and Yadana gas developments.
Myanmar Energy Minister Than Htay is scheduled to visist
Thailand from Feb. 7-9, Pichai said, adding Thai ministers would
also travel to Dawei in Myanmar next month to discuss invesment
Thai companies are leading a huge project in Dawei in
Myanmar's south to build a port and an economic zone with power
plants and related infrastructure.
(Writing by Ploy Ten Kate; Editing by Alan Raybould)