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Daewoo, Woodside in Offshore Myanmar PSC

Woodside advises that Daewoo International Corporation has accepted an offer by Woodside to farm-in to the Production Sharing Contract for Block AD-7 in the Rakhine Basin, located in the western offshore area of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar.

The offer is for a 40% participating interest in the Production Sharing Contract, and is subject to execution of fully-termed agreements, completion of due diligence, and necessary government and other approvals. Daewoo will remain  operator of the PSC.

The proposal provides the opportunity for Woodside and Daewoo to undertake a 3D seismic acquisition program during the period 2013-2014. The transaction also provides the option to drill an exploration well in a subsequent exploration period.

Woodside CEO Peter Coleman said the offer demonstrated the company’s commitment to secure international growth opportunities in frontier and emerging basins that leverage Woodside’s core capabilities, especially in deepwater exploration.

“The Rakhine deep water basin is an exciting frontier exploration area and Block AD-7 is adjacent to the Daewoo-operated Shwe field development,”  Coleman said.

“We are looking forward to finalising this opportunity and building a new partnership with Daewoo.”

Daewoo, Woodside in Offshore Myanmar PSC| Offshore Energy Today.

Sectarian violence continues in western Myanmar city despite state of emergency

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By The Associated Press

SITTWE, Myanmar – Gunshots rang out and residents fled blazing homes in western Myanmar Tuesday as security forces struggled to contain deadly ethnic and religious violence that has killed at least a dozen people and displaced thousands more.

The conflict pitting ethnic Rakhine Buddhists against Rohingya Muslims in coastal Rakhine state marks some of the worst sectarian unrest in years. President Thein Sein has declared a state of emergency and deployed army troops to restore stability, warning the fragile nation’s recent democratic reforms are under threat as it emerges from half a century of military rule.

On Tuesday in the regional capital, Sittwe, police fired live rounds into the air to disperse a group of Rohingyas who could be seen burning homes in one neighbourhood. Hordes of people ran to escape the chaotic scene.

“Smoke is billowing from many directions and we are scared,” said Ma Thein, an ethnic Rakhine resident. “The government should send in more security forces to protect both communities.”

Truckloads of security forces have been deployed in Sittwe for days, and much of the port city was reported calm, including its main road. But homes were burning in three or four districts that have yet to be pacified.

In one, police fired skyward to separate hundreds-strong mobs wielding sticks and stones; in another, soldiers helped move 1,000 Muslims out on trucks to safer areas.

Ma Thein said that some people were running short of food and water, with banks, schools and markets closed. Some small shops opened early Tuesday to sell fish and vegetables early in the morning to residents who braved the tense streets.

The unrest, which began Friday, was triggered by the rape and murder last month of a Buddhist girl, allegedly by three Muslims, and the June 3 lynching of 10 Muslims in apparent retaliation. There are long-standing tensions between the two groups.

The government regards the Rohingyas as illegal migrants from Bangladesh and has rendered them stateless by denying them citizenship. Although some are recent settlers, many have lived in Myanmar for generations and rights groups say they suffer severe discrimination.

The United Nations’ refugee agency estimates 800,000 Rohingya live in mountainous Rakhine state. Thousands attempt to flee every year to Bangladesh, Malaysia and elsewhere in the region, trying to escape a life of abuse that rights groups say includes forced labour, violence against women and restrictions on movement, marriage and reproduction.

The conflict poses one the biggest tests yet for Myanmar’s new government as it tries to reform the nation after the long-ruling army junta largely ceded power last year. The handling of the unrest will draw close scrutiny from Western powers, which have praised Thein Sein’s administration and rewarded it by easing years of harsh economic sanctions.

Human Rights Watch called on the government to “take all necessary steps to protect communities at risk” in Rakhine state and accused authorities of not doing enough to stop the violence.

The New York-based group’s deputy Asia director, Elaine Pearson, also questioned Thein Sein’s decision to impose a state of emergency, which allows the military to take over administrative functions in the area.

“Given the Burmese army’s brutal record of abuses … putting the military in charge of law enforcement could make matters worse,” Pearson said. Myanmar is also known as Burma.

“The Burmese government‘s policies of exclusion have fostered resentment against the Rohingya,” Pearson said “Longer-term, the government should be thinking about how to address the years of discrimination and neglect that the Rohingya have faced.”

On Monday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton urged a halt to the violence and called on authorities to conduct a quick, transparent investigation.

State run newspapers reported that 4,100 people who lost homes had taken refuge in Buddhist monasteries, schools and in a police headquarters the towns of Maungdaw and Buthidaung, both in Rakhine state.

Thousands more were reportedly displaced in Sittwe itself, according to a Rakhine political party called the Rakhine Nationalities Development Party. The party is one of the major parties associated with the country’s ethnic minorities, and won 35 parliamentary seats in the 2010 elections.

State media has reported eight dead in Maungdaw, and an AP journalist saw the corpses of four people killed in Sittwe.

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West Callisto Drills for Total Offshore Myanmar

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Total recently started drilling operations offshore Myanmar at the Yadana field, using Seadrill’s jack-up rig, West Callisto.

According to the Seadrill’s Fleet Status Report for May, Total has hired the rig on a three-month contract. The contract, expiring in mid-July, will bring approximately $12 million to Seadrill.

Total operates the Yadana field (31.2%). Located on offshore Blocks M5 and M6, this field produces gas that is delivered mainly to PTT (the Thai state-owned company) to be used in Thai power plants.

The Yadana field also supplies the domestic market via a land pipeline and, since June 2010, via a sub-sea pipeline built and operated by Myanmar’s state-owned company MOGE.

Following the completion of drilling operations in Myanmar, the rig will leave south-east Asia in which it has been operating since 2010. West Callisto will move to Middle East to commence drilling operations offshore Saudi Arabia under a three-year contract with Saudi Aramco. The drilling program is scheduled to start in September 2012

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The US Prepares To Open Up One Of The Most Exciting Untapped Energy Troves In The World

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Mamta Badkar 
Apr. 4, 2012, 3:38 PM

U.S. secretary of state Hilary Clinton has reportedly said that the U.S. is prepared to move send a ‘full ambassador’ to Myanmar, and establish a US aid office in the country, according to Reuters.

The U.S. will also begin the process of easing away sanctions that have so far banned exports of U.S. financial services and investment to Myanmar in response to its democratic transition.

This comes after Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy party won a landslide victory in parliamentary by-elections.

The easing of sanctions has massive implications for the U.S. since Myanmar is a country rich in resources from oil and gas to teak.

The country recently auctioned off 10 onshore oil and gas blocks that U.S. companies couldn’t partake in because of American sanctions on the country. Myanmar had 11.8 trillion cubic feet of proven gas reserves at the end of 2010 and has been tapped by energy hungry Asian giants like China and India.

Earlier this year we wrote that Myanmar’s economic isolation from the West was beginning to end. At the time Dr. Thein Swe, Senior Professor of Economics, Finance and Globalizationat South East Asian Institute of Global Studies said Western countries had been sending their companies to look for investment opportunities in Myanmar in anticipation of an easing up of sanctions.

Myanmar is also expected to be important from a stratetgic point of view as the Obama administration is looking at the Asia-Pacific region as a priority. Myanmar’s democtratic transition could also be one of the Obama administration’s only successful foriegn relations achievement in Asia, according to Myanmar specialisty David Steinberg.

And Myanmar’s been on the radar for many investors. When we spoke with investment guru Jim Rogers last month, he said with every day that goes by, he gets increasingly excited about opportunities in Myanmar. Rogers had previously said that those that invest in the country could be rich in the next 20 – 40 years and had opined, “Unfortunately I’m a citizen of the land of the free and we from the land of the free are not allowed to invest in Myanmar, it’s illegal. You could invest there, but I cannot.”

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Ezion to Provide Service Rig for Operations Offshore Myanmar

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Singapore’s Ezion Holdings Limited  has sealed a charter contract with a value of up to USD 118 million over a 3 year period to provide a service rig to be used by a European based multinational oil company to support its oil and gas activities in offshore Myanmar.

The Service Rig is expected to be deployed and working in the field of Yadana before the end of 2012 after its refurbishment and upgrading. Ezion said that the project would be funded through internal resources as well as bank borrowings.  The charter will not have a material impact on the Group’s earnings per share or net tangible assets per share for the financial year ending 31 st December 2012.

Ezion owns one of the largest and most sophisticated class of Multi Purpose Self Propelled Jack up Rigs (“Liftboats”) in the world and one of the first to promote the usage of Liftboats in Asia & Middle East. Ezion’s Liftboats are used mainly for well servicing, commissioning, maintenance and decommissioning of offshore platforms.

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Burma Today

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Darlene Casella
November 22, 2011

Evolved from the colonial poems of Kipling to the specter of nuclear weapons, world leaders are taking a renewed look at provocative Burma.

Rudyard Kipling wrote The Road to Mandalay; a poem about the sometime capital of the British Colony, Burma.

“Come you back to Mandalay, Where the old Flotilla lay:
Can’t you ‘ear their paddles chunkin’ from Rangoon to Mandalay on the road to Mandalay,
Where the flyin’ fishes play,
An’ the dawn comes up like thunder outer China ‘crost the Bay!”

Kipling’s poem became a song for Paramount’s first “Road “picture, with Bing Crosby and Bob Hope. The Road to Mandalay was renamed The Road to Singapore. Frank Sinatra made the song a hit in his Come Fly With Me album.

Songs and laughter are not the reality of Burma today. Myanmar was renamed after the brutal uprising in 1998. Yangon, formerly Rangoon, means “End of Strife.” This name is an antonym to Burmese life. Pervasive government control, electricity and food shortages, corruption and rural poverty abound. State assets have been “privatized” to military families and government cronies. In spite of abundant natural resources, Burma remains one of the world’s poorest countries.

Human trafficking of women and children for commercial sexual exploitation; conscription of child soldiers, and forced labor camps are found. Extreme human rights violations cause the United States, the European Union, and Canada to impose financial and economic sanctions.

Myanmar sits at the crossroads of Asia’s great civilizations between India, Bangladesh, Laos, China, and Thailand. Strategically located on the vast Indian Ocean; she stretches to the Eastern Himalayan Mountains, but is smaller than Texas.

Ancient cities, spectacular monuments, well preserved pagodas, stupas, and temples make Myanmar a rich archaeological find. People communicate in their own languages, wear their own style of clothing, celebrate festivals, and perform rituals that have existed since time immemorial. Buddhism is influential. Most boys, and many girls, take part in novitiation which is a temporary monastic life; which includes a shaved head, wearing a robe, and staying in a monastery (a nunnery for girls). Monks in yellowish robes hold alms bowls, heads bowed, humbly asking for whatever food is offered.

The George Soros Foundation created The Burma Project in 1994 to increase international awareness of conditions in Burma and help the country to make transition from a closed to an open society.

Aung San Suu Kyi is a Burmese national hero, a Noble Laureate, and head of the pro democracy movement. She was under house arrest for most of the last 20 years; during this time her husband died in England. At the age of 65, she was released in November 2010 and saw her son for the first time in ten years. Bono wrote the song “Walk On” for Kyi. She has millions of supporters worldwide.

Former First Lady Laura Bush, an advocate of Suu Kyi, worked with 16 women senators to draft a letter to the UN to secure Kyi’s release. Mrs. Bush wrote an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal, was interviewed in Time Magazine, and personally called General Secretary Ban Ki Moon asking him to pressure the Burmese regime to release Suu Kyi. In 2010 Laura Bush made a U Tube video about Suu Kyi. Happily Laura Bush spoke by phone with the recently freed pro democracy activist. Encouraged by recent developments, Aung San Suu Kyi announced a return to politics. She had meetings with President Thein Sein.

Burma remains a close ally of China. China and Myanmar have multibillion dollar joint venture pipelines to transport oil and gas. It will link refineries in Western China across Myanmar. Offshore natural gas will go to China. Under civilian control since March 2011, Myanmar has embarked on a series of reforms; released 220 political prisoners, relaxed media control, and legalized trade unions. Association for Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has named Burma as the Chair starting in 2014. UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has accepted an invitation to visit the country as soon as possible.

Troubling aspects of Sein’s new government include their nuclear ambition, and their military relationship with North Korea. Norway based “Voice of Burma” broadcast this in a one hour documentary film on Aljazeera television in the Middle East. A young Burmese military specialist on rocket engines shows that Burma has components for a nuclear weapons program, including technology for uranium enrichment and long range missiles.

President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are climbing on the Burma bandwagon. Mr. Obama called Aung San Suu Kyi during his visit to Australia last week. Hillary Clinton is scheduled to visit next month.

Let us pray that the Obama Administration does better with nuclear weapons in Burma than it has done with nuclear weapons in North Korea and Iran.

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West wary of Burma investment

Western companies are still thinking twice about investing in Burma despite recent political reforms, leaving the way clear to Indian, Thai and Malaysian companies to invest in the South East Asian nation.

Andrew Hobbs 24 November 2011 09:02 GMT

Burma, also known as Myanmar, closed its biggest oil and gas exploration tender in years in August, a few months after it cautiously started political reforms, and the government is now processing the bids, Reuters reported.

Industry sources in Burma told Reuters the tender had attracted about 50 bids, with regional companies said to be the main contenders.

So far only Thailand’s PTT Exploration and India’s ONGC Videsh have publicly expressed interest in this tender, with ONGC saying it is evaluating data, Reuters reported.

US companies are barred from new investments in Myanmar under government-ordered sanctions and Chinese oil companies were lukewarm to the bidding for 18 onshore oil and gas prospects, due to concerns over the blocks’ prospects, Reuters reported.

Coupled with this, bilateral ties between Burma and China have been strained since September, after Rangoon shelved a China-backed dam in the north of the country.

CNOOC said it had not put in a bid, while no comment was received from Sinopec or China National Petroleum Corporation, Reuters reported.

Facts Global Energy consultant HS Yen said Burma could have received only one expression of interest from Europe.

“They probably have attracted as much as 50 bids, but each field may have been counted as a separate bid, so the number of individual companies bidding are very likely much lower than 50,” Yen said.

“I certainly don’t see a major company that isn’t already present in the country venturing into Myanmar given the risks of doing business there and the small reserves size.”

Total, which leads the $1 billion Yadana gas project in Burmese waters in the Andaman Sea, had not taken part in the tender, a company spokeswoman said.

Total chief executive Christophe de Margerie last month said his company would like to play a bigger role in Burma but first wanted to see concrete signs of increased democratisation.

“We decided that … it was important to be in Myanmar but that we will not invest until things are getting better … I do hope that will happen,” he said.

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