STATE oil company Petroleum Brunei (PB) will bid for oil exploration contracts in Myanmar, said the Energy Minister, as Myanmar's President Thein Sein concluded his three-day visit to the Sultanate yesterday.
The move could mark the first foray for Brunei businesses into Myanmar, which has seen unprecedented interest from foreign investors since the suspension of economic sanctions earlier this year.
"It's an opportunity for us to develop joint cooperation in a lot of upstream activities," Yang Berhormat Pehin Datu Singamanteri Colonel (Rtd) Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Hj Mohammad Yasmin Hj Umar told The Brunei Times.
"They will be bidding for the offshore and onshore concessions. It's one of the ways for people in Brunei to venture outside Brunei and do some work there." Last month a delegation from PB made initial contact with business interests in Myanmar and is exploring the possibility of ventures in both upstream and downstream activities, said the minister.
Brunei Shell Petroleum (BSP) and Brunei LNG have also expressed keen interest in gaining a foothold in Myanmar. Both companies along with Brunei Methanol Company (BMC) gave corporate presentations to President Thein Sein during his visit to Belait yesterday.
"Shell is interested in participating in Myanmar," said BSP Managing Director Ken Marnoch. "Petroleum Brunei will have its own ambitions but if their ambitions coincide with Shell's we'd be very happy to work with Petroleum Brunei." With competition for energy contracts in Myanmar heating up, Shell is eager to re-establish its presence there after a 20 year absence, with a focus on deepwater concessions in the Bay of Bengal. "We used to have a position in Myanmar about 20 years ago but through circumstances we had to relinquish (it)," said Michiel Kool, an executive vice-president of Asia Upstream International at Shell Eastern Petroleum. "But now with the political system changing we have made several visits, along with many other companies; we are interested in participating in future licensing rounds."
The Brunei Times
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