Norway’s Statoil in talks to explore Myanmar

The first big Western oil company has made a move to bid for a license to explore for gas and oil in Myanmar’s coastal waters, the Irrawaddee reports.

Norwegian government-linked Statoil is in talks with Myanmar’s Ministry of Energy and has also approached the country’s biggest private industry operator, MRPL E&P, as a possible partner.

It’s understood that Statoil, whose majority shareholder is the Oslo government, is not interested in the 18 onshore blocks which have just been put up for license by Myanmar.

“Burma is back on the company’s radar screen due to the political shift and has further confirmed delegations from the company have visited the country several times recently,” the industry magazine Upstream reported, citing Statoil spokesman Baard Pedersen.

MRPL E&P chief executive Michael Moe Myint was quoted by Norwegian newspaper DN as saying he had been approached by Statoil.

A planned auction of up to 20 offshore blocks in the second half of last year was postponed after widespread criticism of the continued involvement in the local industry of military-linked Myanma Oil & Gas Enterprise. No new auction date has been announced yet.

Source: The Irrawaddee