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Burma OKs Massive Exploration for Oil

Some of the biggest names (unsurprisingly) in the offshore oil and gas industry were awarded 20 different areas to explore for oil and natural gas in the deep and shallow waters of the Bay of Bengal.

Myanmar is said to be sitting on a “sleeping petroleum giant.” The exact quantity is unknown, but industry insiders say that the untapped commercial reserves have the potential to be “world class.”

burma oil exploration

The veritable “who’s who” includes Anglo-Dutch firm Royal Dutch Shell plc, France’s Total S.A., Italy’s Eni S.p.A., Norway’s Statoil ASA, and ConocoPhillips Co. and Chevron Corporation of the United States.

Deepwater exploration is expensive and dangerous, not only for companies but also the environment. Conservation groups have been concerned for some time about the potential risks and worry that the Myanmar government is ill-equipped to regulate and monitor the situation. Moreover, watchdog groups are calling for transparency, wanting not only the companies but also the government to break free from its “secrecy and murky deal-making of its military past.”

Juman Kubba, of Global Witness says, “If the international companies now moving in want their engagement in the country to be positive, they need to make this information public from the outset.”

Let’s hope all this potential pulls the beautiful Myanmar up by the boot straps, rather than place it under the boot.

Definitely one to watch…

For more on this, click here to head over to The Irrawaddy.