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Total buys stake in Woodside-MPRL offshore block

By Aung Shin , Thursday, 22 October 2015 Myanmar Times 


Total E&P Myanmar announced last week that it had bought a 40 percent interest in offshore block A-6.


The block is located in the Rakhine Basin off Myanmar’s western coast in the Bay of Bengal, and was formerly 50-50 owned by Myanmar Petroleum Resources Limited (MPRL) and Australia’s Woodside Petroleum.


Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE) approved the sale – which will see the block owned 40pc by Woodside and Total and 20pc by MPRL – in early October.


Xavier Preel, general manager of Total E&P Myanmar, told The Myanmar Times, “We will be starting deep water exploration very soon, in 2000- metre waters. If we discover gas, we’ll make an announcement in February 2016.”


Block A-6 covers 9830 square kilometres in water depths between 50m and 2500m.


British Virgin Islands registered MPRL and MOGE signed a production sharing contract for the block in 2007, according to an MPRL press release issued earlier this month.


U Moe Myint, CEO of MPRL, said he was delighted to partner with international oil companies such Total and Woodside, citing his company’s experience in the local upstream sector as an incentive for the partnership.


In March 2012 the company announced that gas had been discovered in its Pyi Thar-1ST test well, proving the block had the potential to be commercially viable.


Woodside Energy then bought a 50pc stake in the block in January 2013.


The new group, led by Total, will now conduct more exploration activities, and will begin drilling a new well called Shwe Yee Htun.


“Our discovery could be big, which could change the perception of gas in Myanmar,” said Mr Preel.


In the last two years, at least two early discoveries of gas have been made in offshore blocks – at block A6, and block M3, operated by Thai company PTTEP – but these have not yet been officially approved as commercially viable.


A number of international oil companies have planned exploration activities in Myanmar offshore over the coming months, though in some cases the process has been delayed by falling international gas prices.


Total also plans to install a new wellhead platform for gas production at its Badamyar project in the Gulf of Martaban, and is drilling another four development wells to extend the Yadana project, in the Andaman Sea.


The French oil giant was awarded deepwater block YWB in a 2013 bidding round and signed a production sharing contract with MOGE.


It also committed to invest US$70 million in the block over an eight-year exploration period.


Total is a leading international oil company in Myanmar, operating the Yadana project and a number of other offshore blocks. It also acquired a 40pc interest in block M-11 from PTTEP in 2012.


Warren, who built a fortune worth $5.3 billion over the past 15 years through more than a dozen acquisitions, made a first move Monday designed to pave the way for more deals. His Energy Transfer Partners LP agreed to pay $11 billion to consolidate its Regency Energy Partners LP unit under one roof.

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