Friday, July 27, 2012

Burma to privatize declining oil refineries

Friday, 27 July 2012 12:18 Mizzima News    

Burma’s aging three oil refineries, which produce only a meager number of barrels per daily, will be privatized, say government authorities.

The government will privatize all state-owned oil refineries in a bid to have them modernized and turned into effective operations, Biweekly Eleven News reported on Thursday.

The oil refinery in Thanlyin Township in Rangoon Region will be the first to be privatized, perhaps by late this year, said the report.

Burma’s three existing oil refineries are Thanlyin oil refinery, Mann Thanpayarkan oil refinery and Chauk oil refinery, which combined produce only around 7,500 barrels of oil a day. Of them, the Thanlyin oil refinery can produce 11,000 barrels of light oil per day.

In fiscal year 2012-13, the government has targeted to extract 7. 156 million barrels of crude oil. About 3.435 million is from inland blocks and 3.721 million from offshore blocks. Most of the oil is shipped abroad.

The government says more crude oil is projected to be extracted from the offshore block of Tanintharyi and more oil blocks will be developed in Magway, Bago and Ayeyawady regions this fiscal year.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Energy is cooperating with the Asean Council on Petroleum (ASCOPE) to share technologies and equipment for oil and gas exploration, production, refining and commercial sectors, the article said.

Burma is now preparing to accept tender offers on a number of new onshore and offshore blocks for exploration, and many foreign oil and gas firms are expected to offer bids. The country is recognized as having one of the region’s most extensive oil and gas reserves.

According to the Total oil company website, Burma is one of the world's oldest oil producers, exporting its first barrel in 1853. Rangoon Oil Company, the first foreign oil company to drill in the country, was created in 1871. Between 1886 and 1963, the country's oil industry was dominated by Burmah Oil Company which discovered the Yenangyaung field in 1887 and the Chauk field in 1902. Both are still in production.

The oil and gas industry was nationalized after a socialist-leaning military regime seized power in 1962. As in many other countries, the State assumed ownership of the resources, either operating them itself or delegating this task to private operators, who were paid for their outlay and work in oil or gas under production sharing contracts.

The linchpin of oil and gas industry in Burma is the Ministry of Energy, which has oversight for three state-owned enterprises:
Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE), created in 1963, is responsible for oil and gas exploration and production, as well as domestic gas transmission through a 1,200-mile onshore pipeline network.
Myanma Petrochemical Enterprise (MPE) operates three small refineries, three fertilizer plants and a number of other processing plants.
Myanma Petroleum Products Enterprise (MPPE) is responsible for retail and wholesale distribution of petroleum products.

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