Energy-sector delegation to visit Myanmar

Economy June 02, 2012 00:00

By Watcharapong Thongrung
The Na

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Energy Ministry officials will lead representatives of state agencies under its wing in negotiations in Myanmar next week aimed at securing investment opportunities in that country's energy sector.

The visit will feature a signing ceremony in Nay Pyi Taw on Wednesday between PTT Exploration and Production (PTTEP) and the Myanmar government for exploration concessions in blocks PSC-G and EP-2, near the capital.

Adisai Soonthornratanarak, an adviser to the ministry, said the energy minister would be accompanied by senior executives from state-run companies including PTT and the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat). The Thai delegation will meet with the Myanmar ministers of energy and electricity to discuss all aspects of energy development and production. 
It is hoped the meetings will provide opportunities for the Myanmar government to assess the readiness and capabilities of Thailand’s energy agencies, with an eye towards forming a partnership to develop Myanmar’s energy potential in a cooperative manner.
PTT Group and Egat have in the past held separate discussions with the Myanmar government to seek investment opportunities on their own. Now, with the Thai delegation being led by the energy minister, it is expected that discussions will move beyond the level of individual opportunities to encompass Myanmar’s energy situation as a whole so that the delegation will learn what it needs and be able to assess Thailand’s readiness to assist. 
The development of Myanmar’s energy infrastructure is a big issue and Thailand is ready to help with its extensive experience and expertise, Adisai said. 
He said that on Wednesday, apart from the signing ceremony for PTT, there would be a bilateral discussion at the ministerial level. Many energy projects will be discussed covering petroleum exploration, electricity and coal mining in an effort to find ways to develop these sectors jointly. 
Some international energy companies have already invested in Myanmar, but for the most part they look only at those opportunities that will benefit them the most. Thailand on the other hand is concerned about Myanmar’s energy security and is more interested in long-term cooperation, the adviser said. 
If the delegation is successful, it will use these meetings as a model for future negotiations with other neighbours such as Cambodia and Laos.
PTTEP plans to invest US$4 billion (Bt128 billion) to develop a petroleum source in Zawtika in 2013 and is currently preparing to apply for new concessions for blocks PSC-G and EP-2. PTT International is ready and willing to invest in gas and fuel pipelines, the company said.
Egat International is ready to invest in power plants. The two countries are already working together on the Hutgyi hydropower plant, which will generate 1,300 megawatts, and the 6,000MW-capacity Mong Ton Hydro Power Plant is expected to come on-stream in 2025. 
And finally, the Mai Khot coal mine will become operational in 2017. Egat and PTT International each hold 30 per cent of this project.