Ups and downs, comings and goings
Burma’s currency strengthened slightly by 1 to 2 kyat against the dollar which was buying 967 kyat on Friday 11 October and selling for 975 kyat.
Fuel prices all remain the same: petrol is 814 kyat per litre; diesel is 920 kyat per litre; and octane sells at 920 kyat a litre.
Sino-Burmese border trade is reported to have increased exponentially this season. In Muse, exports alone topped $US308 million in September, up from just $104 million at the same time last year. Exported goods include corn, rice (also glutinous rice), fisheries, jade and polished gems. Popular imports from China are currently cement, fertiliser, mopeds and construction materials.
Good quality rice is selling in Rangoon at 1,100-1,200 kyat per pyi (basket), while low quality rice is 850-900 kyat per pyi. However, Burma’s rice exports fell in the first half of the 2013-14 fiscal year by about half, according to a report in Eleven Daily, with the country shipping 316,711 tonnes worth $129 million during that period.
Ministry of Energy announces 10 winning bidders for onshore oil exploration
Ten foreign firms have won the tender bidding for 16 onshore energy blocks in Burma, an energy ministry official said on Friday. The firms which won concessions were from the following countries: Britain, Brunei, Canada, India, Italy, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Pakistan, Russia and Thailand, and included Italy’s Eni, India’s ONGC Videsh and Malaysia’s Petronas. Thirteen of the 16 contracts were production-sharing deals and the rest were petroleum recovery contracts, said the official. Eni, Petronas, ONGC, Pakistan’s Petroleum Exploration (PVT) and Canada’s Pacific Hunt Energy Corp each won contracts to operate two blocks, according to a list of the winners seen by Reuters.
For the first time in Burma, the winners will be required to perform Environment Impact Assessments before final approval from the country’s investment commission, the official added.
Multinational firms to build Rangoon power plant
A 500 MW coal-fired power plant is to be built in Kyauktan in Rangoon division, implemented under a multinational joint venture of companies from Burma, India and Singapore, state-run media reported on Wednesday. Under an MoU signed in Naypyidaw, the power project will be implemented by Burma’s Ministry of Electric Power, Orange Powergen Pvt Ltd of India, Global Adviser Pte Ltd of Singapore and local-based Diamond Palace Services Co Ltd through a build-operate-transfer (BOT) system. Upon completion, the plant will increase electricity supply to the Rangoon region, the report said.
Thai govt urges Burma to speed up Tasang dam project
Thailand’s Energy Minister Pongsak Raktapongpaisal has urged his Burmese counterpart to speed up the US$12-billion Tasang hydroelectric dam project as part of Thailand’s target to buy 10,000 megawatts of electricity from is neighbour. Located on the upper part of the Salween River, the project is expected to have a capacity of 7,000 MW and will take 12 years to construct, he said, according to a report in the Bangkok Post.
“If the Burmese government gives the go-ahead, Mr Pongsak will instruct the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) to speed up talks with potential Chinese and Burmese partners to prepare the power purchase agreement for parliament consideration,” the report said, adding that Thailand expects to hold 30 percent in the Tasang dam in a joint venture with Sinohydro Corporation and the China Three Gorges Corporation, both from China.
“Taking into account an environmental impact assessment and community protection plan, this massive project will take 12 years to develop,” the report said.
Foreign firms line up for Kyaukphyu project
More than 30 international companies have submitted expressions of interest to be consultants on the Kyaukphyu Special Economic Zone (SEZ) project in Arakan state. Eleven Daily reported that firms from China, Singapore, United States, the Netherlands, Germany, Japan, India, Britain, Australia and South Korea were interested in the industrial project which is situated on the coast of the Bay of Bengal and best known as the starting point for China’s trans-Burma pipeline project which recently began transferring natural gas to Yunnan province.
Companies bidding to develop Rangoon commercial zone
Fourteen companies (13 domestic and 1 South Korean) have applied for tender bidding to develop the Min Dhamma Project, a proposed commercial hub in Rangoon’s Mingalar Taungnyunt township, according to a local government official. The economic zone will include hotels, a convention centre, a theatre, cinemas, an electronic plaza and office buildings. Deadline for tender applicants is set for 2 December.
Latpadaung copper mine resumes
The controversial Latpadaung copper mine in Sagaing division has resumed operations despite local protests over displacement of villagers and its environmental impact. The project is a joint venture between China’s Wanbao and the Burmese military-backed Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings.
Thai airline encouraged to spread its wings in Burma
Burma last week urged Nok Air to expand its footprint in the country to cover the major cities of Naypyidaw, Mandalay and Bagan. Burma’s Ambassador to Thailand, Tin Win, said the Burmese government would like to encourage the Thai budget carrier to expand beyond Rangoon, where it will land from 1 November.