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Oil and gas
See also Foreign investment in oil and gas, above, and the section under Extractive Industries in the Economy section.

Individual Documents

Title: Myanmar delays energy tender to improve transparency
Date of publication: 05 September 2012
Description/subject: Myanmar has delayed an oil and gas exploration tender to meet the transparency standards of the Western energy majors lining up, many for the first time, to invest in the rapidly reforming nation, a senior energy ministry official said.
Language: English
Source/publisher: Reuters via Arakan Oil Watch
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 13 September 2012

Title: The Yadana syndrome? Big oil and principles of corporate engagement in myanmar
Date of publication: 02 January 2008
Description/subject: "... In debates about economic globalisation, the case for leading corporations to engage with some of the world's most desperate development challenges is increasingly heard. In just the last few years, the World Bank and Mandle have shown that economic globalisation can operate to the benefit of the poor, Bhagwati and Wolf have issued powerful defences of globalisation, and Friedman has urged individuals, corporations and governments to seize the opportunities present in the increasingly "flat" world in which we live.2 From the peak of the international political system, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has endorsed all these arguments by holding that it is "the absence of broad-based business activity, not its presence, that condemns much of humanity to suffering."3 To stimulate action, he sponsored the UN Global Compact, dedicated to promoting responsible corporate citizenship throughout the world, and appointed its principal author, Kennedy School Professor John Ruggie, to the position of Special Representative on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises. However, despite all the mood music lauding the contribution business can make to development, it remains an open question whether corporate engagement, and in particular inward investment, should take place in extreme contexts. On the one hand, foreign capitalist involvement in some industries, notably resource extraction, has long been seen as highly exploitative. For decades, neo-Marxist critiques of capitalist underdevelopment held sway, stressing the extent of local state dependence on foreign capitalist interests, and the catastrophic impact of corporate engagement on local economic, social and political evolution.4 Notions of captured, rentier states mired in corruption and committed to systematic exploitation of Third World populations were commonly encountered. Few other than baleful local effects, generated by unprincipled involvement on the part of foreign corporations, were recorded. Today, criticism of this kind continues to be heard in, for example, responses to the World Bank's Extractive Industries Review, released in December 2003, which itself reached rather equivocal conclusions.5 Under the influence of more recent analyses of economic globalisation and its effects, should such activity now be encouraged? As economies are opened to the forces of global capitalism, is resource extraction to be placed alongside other corporate activity as positive and constructive in its contribution to pro-poor policies? On the other hand, all forms of corporate engagement with regimes that commit gross human rights violations are widely viewed as thoroughly unprincipled. For many years now, the sanctions lobby has trained a moral spotlight on inward investment in countries dominated by violator regimes. While the condemnation, and the resultant corporate pullouts, have always been highly selective, picking up on, say, Myanmar in the Asian context but making little comment on China, they have been no less powerful for that. Indeed, informal sanctions, targeting brands and corporations with a great deal to lose from negative publicity, have often been much more potent than formal government sanctions applied by the US and some of its allies.6 Again, under the influence of the latest writings on economic globalisation, should this activity also now be endorsed? Even in the most unpromising domains, can profits and principles be secured in tandem?7 This article tackles these issues by focusing on one very specific development context: Myanmar, or the country formerly known as Burma. By almost any definition, this is a difficult environment for poverty reduction.8 It is also one of the most unpromising settings for business activity, ranking last out of the 127 countries included in the Fraser Institute's Economic Freedom of the World Index for 2003.9 Furthermore, the kinds of extreme circumstance that generate the greatest development challenges are readily found here. Global corporations are engaged in extractive activities that provoke fierce critiques. Reports published over many years by Amnesty International, EarthRights International, Human Rights Watch and other organisations document gross human rights abuse by government-backed forces in virtually all parts of a country of more than 50 million people. Within this context, the article examines one particularly controversial extractive enterprise: the Yadana gas project, in which Western oil companies have long been prime movers. The debate that encircles this project is of course not unique. It is nestled in a broader discourse about corporate engagement with rights violating regimes all over the world, and reflected in specific ethical controversies thathave flared up in recentyears.11 When companies such as Carlsberg, Heineken, Levi Strauss and Reebok pulled out of Myanmar in the early and mid-1990s, they made public the moral concerns that prompted their decisions.12 Equally, some corporations targeted by campaigners have issued ethical justifications for ongoing engagement.13 Similar divisions are visible in other spheres. While the Global Fund made a high-profile withdrawal from Myanmar in August 2005, citing intolerable official interference in its work to combat AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria, key internal groups such as the National League for Democracy and the Student Generations Since 1988 now call for humanitarian intervention; and international agencies such as Save the Children USA continue to operate inside the country.14 The Yadana project is special because this single case encapsulates Western corporate involvement in resource extraction in a highly repressive context. It also has the virtue of being very well documented. The article addresses two main questions. First, is the involvement of foreignowned corporations in Myanmar's Yadana project to be welcomed? Second, with the experience gained from this involvement, can wider lessons about global corporate citizenship be drawn? To generate answers, the first section of the article provides some brief background material on the Yadana project. The second section then examines the cases made by its backers and critics, and evaluates the project from the perspective of its impact on the people of Myanmar. The third section focuses on wider lessons for corporate engagement that flow from the project, and in particular, the conditions in which inward investment in repressive settings is likely to be most constructive and positive in its effects. Applying these conditions to Myanmar, the fourth section considers ways forward for corporate involvement with the country. The article closes with a brief conclusion. The argument is that it is not possible to reach an overall evaluation of the Yadana project. However, some principles of responsible cross-border corporate engagement can be derived from it..."
Author/creator: Ian Holliday
Language: English
Source/publisher: City University of Hong Kong
Format/size: pdf (1.6MB)
Date of entry/update: 22 April 2016

Title: Energy Myanmar ("The Myanmar Times" Special Feature, August 2007)
Date of publication: August 2007
Description/subject: Daewoo’s massive gas strike puts Rakhine region in spotlight -- “The discovery of gas deposits in the A-1 block was one of factor that attracted international oil companies to this region; in the past gas deposits like this would not have interested oil companies,” said U Chan Mya, general manager of Smart technical services company...Nation set for huge increase in oil and gas investment “Daewoo and PTTEP both have to build platforms and pipelines to transport the gas from the A-1, A-3 and M-9 blocks. This kind of infrastructure investment will certainly boost FDI for the next two or three years at least,” ...The coloured history of the Burmah Oil Company » Asian explorers head for deep water » Why do we need oil and natural gas? » A study of abundance: major onshore and offshore oil and gas fields in Myanmar » Increased gas exports to underpin eco growth » Harnessing energy from the clouds » Energy sector’s ‘nuclear renaissance’ » Overview of major oil field service companies » Government speeds up CNG filling in Yangon » World looks green as local industry battles for life » Reality of US$100 oil not far off » Fuelling the future with Jatropha Curcas » Giving back through socioeconomic programs » Energy outlook grim: study » Negotiations for sale of Daewoo gas continuing » China seeks way around ‘Malacca Dilemma’.
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Myanmar Times"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 08 September 2007

Title: Oil and Gas Supply, Processing and Refining in the ASEAN Region
Date of publication: January 2002
Description/subject: This edition of the quarterly ASEAN Energy Bulletin features country articles on the status, prospects and future direction of oil and gas supply, processing and refining in the Southeast Asia region. The Myanmar article, written by U Soe Myint, of the Energy Planning Department of the state Energy Ministry, is a useful summary of upstream and downstream aspects of the oil and gas industry in the country. It is accompanied by map showing the location of both onshore and offshore development blocks offered in concession by the Ministry.
Author/creator: Soe Myint
Language: English
Source/publisher: ASEAN Energy Bulletin
Format/size: pdf (1.5 MB)
Alternate URLs: http://www.ibiblio.org/obl/docs2/ASEAN.pdf
Date of entry/update: 24 August 2005

Title: DEADLY ENERGY (Mya Yadana Report)
Date of publication: September 1993
Description/subject: This report by Green November 32 in 1993 was the first ever NGO perspective report written on the Yadana gas pipeline and on the border dams as they were first discussed by Thai and Burmese governments around that time. It was actually one of the first detailed reports on any of the post 1988 environmental issues by any Burmese- or border- based organisation, and is of particular interest in the light of the current opposition to the Irrawaddy dam projects... "Officials of the Thai government and the SLORC military regime have for some years now been planning a series of huge energy joint ventures to be undertaken in some of the most fought over territory in Burma. The energy projects, if they are endorsed by the Thai Government - and implemented with the participation of Japanese and Western corporations - will have extremely serious, possibly even terminal repercussions for the Burmese pro-democracy movement which is based in these same areas of the Burma -Thai border. Indeed, this seems to be what a number of the proponents of the development projects intend to achieve, particularly the generals in Rangoon. The SLORC, as well as politicians, military men and businessmen in Thailand and abroad would garner great benefit from the destruction of the Burmese opposition groups along the border, and the opening of the way to even more unrestrained natural resource exploitation than is currently taking place. There are ten planned energy development joint ventures, comprising two offshore natural gasfield developments and eight hydro-electric dams. These are: •The Martaban Gasfield developments led by Total CFP of France •The Yetagun Gasfield exploratory program led by Texaco of the US •The Upper Salween Dam, •The Lower Salween Dam •The Nam Kok Project •The Nam Moei 3 Project •The Nam Moei 2 Project •The Klong Kra Project •The Nam Moei 1 Project, and •The Nam Mae Sai Project... The energy projects will lead to environmental and social havoc on a scale comparable to the largest development projects in the world. Indeed, the Upper Salween Dam will be among the largest in the world. Altogether the projects will directly result in the flooding and deforesting of thousands of square kilometers of the forests bordering Burma and Thailand. The projects will displace many thousands of indigenous peoples, some of them already refugees from the forty-five years of bloody civil war in Burma. Many have already been affected by military operations of the SLORC and Thai armies, operations which can easily be seen in the context of clearing the way for the development of the 820-1,000 kilometre gas pipeline or the construction of the eight dams... The energy projects will put billions of dollars into the control of an ultra-nationalist military regime that is one of the world's worst human rights violators and that is rapidly building up a large and extraordinarily aggressive army which poses a significant threat to the stability of the region. The massive input of funds from the Western and Japanese multinational oil and energy development companies, combined with the cheap sale and presents of Chinese weaponry, and the profits from the heroin traffic that the SLORC is alleged to control, has funded this huge expansion of the SLORC armed forces... The energy joint ventures will, if signed, mark the second and higher level of engagement in the much criticised ASEAN policy of "constructive engagement" towards the SLORC regime, which through the activities of the logging, oil and fishing companies have already caused untold damage to Burma's environment. The multinational corporations, the Keidanrens and the Thai state oil and electricity institutes PTT and EGAT are therefore amongst the most powerful influences supporting the SLORC in its brutal and undemocratic suppression of the peoples of Burma."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Green November 32
Format/size: pdf (1.3MB)
Date of entry/update: 24 September 2011