| Danial Norjidi |
BRUNEI National Petroleum Company Sdn Bhd (PetroleumBRUNEI) has officially been awarded an onshore block in Myanmar after having signed a contract with Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE) and International Group Enterprise Pte Ltd (IGE) yesterday.
The signing of the Production Sharing Contract (PSC) was carried out at Myanmar’s Grand Amara Hotel in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday, and was witnessed by Pehin Datu Singamanteri Colonel (Rtd) Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Awang Haji Mohammad Yasmin bin Haji Umar, Brunei’s Minister of Energy at the Prime Minister’s Office and U Zay Yar Aung, Union Minister at Myanmar’s Ministry of Energy.
The signatory for PetroleumBRUNEI was its Managing Director and CEO, Dato Paduka Haji Matsatejo Sokiaw, while MOGE Managing Director U Myo Myint Oo and IGE Managing Director Than Win Swe signed on behalf of their respective organisations.
The signing of the PSC marks a key milestone for PetroleumBRUNEI as the full-fledged operator of the block and in a journey towards increasing international investments.
PetroleumBRUNEI was awarded Block EP-1, the onshore Kyaukkyi-Mindon area on November 19, 2013 after participating in the 2013 Myanmar Onshore Bidding Round. The onshore block itself is located 250km north of Yangon, covering an area of 1,135 sq km.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Brunei’s Minister of Energy said, “In carrying out its operations in EP-1, PetroleumBRUNEI is committed to ensure high safety, environ-mental standards and to work alongside the local business community. PetroleumBRUNEI is committed to fulfil its obligations under the PSC to explore the block diligently and invest in any commercial discoveries.”
The signing is also being seen as an important step in the strong and close bilateral relationship between Brunei Darussalam and Myanmar.
In his speech, the minister went on to refer to the state visit of the President of the Union of Myanmar U Thein Sein to Brunei in December 2012, whereby “His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam noted with satisfaction the valuable cooperation between the two countries in the areas of educational human resource development and in health matters”.
“His Majesty also acknowledged that President U Thein Sein’s state visit to Brunei Darussalam would encourage greater interest in opening up new opportunities for commerce, trade and investment – in particular on the potential of greater growth in joint venture, especially in the area of exploration in which President U Thein Sein also shared the same sentiment on.”
During His Majesty’s second state visit to Myanmar in March this year, the monarch reiterated the potential of cooperation in the energy sector and expressed acknowledgements that the officials have begun working together.
The minister noted that he is very pleased that the hard work from both sides has finally materialised the vision of both countries’ leaders to reach a new stage of bilateral relationship in the energy sector.
Speaking to the Borneo Bulletin from Myanmar, Pehin Dato Haji Mohammad Yasmin highlighted, “PetroleumBRUNEI worked very hard for this. This is an international dealing.
A number of international companies were bidding for this, not just from the region but also all the way from Europe. All the hard work from the people in PetroleumBRUNEI helped do this.”
He went on to explain that following this signing, PetroleumBRUNEI will be carrying out all the exploration activities in the block, including a seismic survey, environmental studies and assessments.
“The next two years will be for exploration. This will start as early as in the next five to six months.”
PetroleumBRUNEI will be managing the contracts, some of which will go to international contractors while there will also be opportunities for “capable Bruneian contractors”, he shared.
In addition, Myanmar is also opening up its oil and gas services industry, inviting Bruneian companies to get involved in the services side of things.
“There will be a number of tenders that some Bruneian companies can participate in,” he said. Asked what this means for the Sultanate, the minister said, “It will generate income for PetroleumBRUNEI.
“We now have the opportunity to do business here,” he said, noting that the location of the block is very strategic. “The Mekong Delta has a very dynamic economy that is moving quite fast. It is a gateway to the big economies of China and India.”
Responding to a question on other potential projects for PetroleumBRUNEI abroad, the minister said, “Besides Myanmar, we have other investments in offshore fields in Sarawak, Malaysia and a shale gas project in Canada.”
PetroleumBRUNEI is Brunei’s national oil company, which was enacted by the Brunei National Petroleum Company (BNPC) order in 2002. It was incorporated on January 14, 2002 as a private limited company wholly-owned by the Government of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam.