YANGON, March 26 (Reuters) - International oil majors including Royal Dutch Shell, Statoil, ConocoPhillips and Total won rights to explore for oil and gas off Myanmar, according to the Southeast Asian country’s Ministry of Energy.
Myanmar has awarded 10 shallow-water blocks and 10 deepwater blocks in an auction process that began in April last year, according to a posting on the ministry’s website on Wednesday.
Winners of deepwater blocks will be able to explore and operate the blocks on their own, while shallow-water winners will need to work with a registered local partner, according to the terms of the production sharing contracts.
Myanmar’s oil and gas sector attracts the largest share of foreign investment, accounting for $13.6 billion, or 40 percent, of total accumulated foreign investment through September, according to the Central Statistical Organisation (CSO).
Myanmar exported $3.7 billion worth of gas in the fiscal year to March 31, 2013, mostly to neighbouring Thailand, up from $3.5 billion the year before.
The country’s proven natural gas reserves totalled 7.8 trillion cubic feet (tcf) at the end of 2012, according to BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy.
A total of 160 local companies have registered with the Ministry of Energy as potential partners for winners of the shallow-water blocks, but industry sources say only a few of them have any oil and gas experience.
Contracts winners will have to complete environmental and social impact assessments and submit reports to the Investment Commission before starting operation.
For a table showing the list of winners, see: (Reporting by Aung Hla Tun; Editing by Tom Hogue)