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Ups and downs
The buying rate for Burmese kyat on Friday is 971 to the US dollar, while selling at 972. The price of gold went up from 667,200 kyat per tical this week to 676, 500 kyat. Fuel remained the same as last week: petrol 820 kyat; diesel 950 kyat; and octane 950 kyat per litre. High-quality Pawsanhmwe rice remains at 1,300-1,700 kyat per basket, while low-quality Manawthukha is still set at 900 kyat per basket at most Rangoon markets.
Thailand’s PTTEP to explore gas in Burma
PTT Exploration and Production Plc (PTTEP), Thailand’s sole listed upstream firm, and its investment partners have signed a production-sharing agreement with Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE) for onshore exploration and production rights for the MOGE 3 block. Four exploration wells are planned for MOGE 3 at an initial cost of US$72 million for the first three years, president and chief executive Tevin Vongvanich said in a filing submitted to the Stock Exchange of Thailand this week. PTTEP and its partners won exploration rights in the second round of onshore bidding last year.
Five international express courier services – Magnate Group Logistics, Smart Logistics, Transmarine Logistics Asia, United Courier Services and Myanmar USU Logistics – have each signed agreements to launch operations in Burma. The former three companies were set to begin operations on 8 August while the latter two will start on 1 January. Industry leader EMS is already established in the country, however rival Fedex is not. Previously, customers in Burma had to rely on a government service which was often criticised as expensive and inefficient.
Rangoon to host oil and gas fair in October
An oil and gas trade fair will be held at the Myanmar Convention Centre on 15 – 17 October, Nasdaq announced on its news site on Monday. The inaugural event – Oil & Gas Myanmar 2014 – is expected to showcase more than 60 international exhibitors, including strong representation at the Singapore and UK pavilions, the report said. Foreign players such as ConocoPhillips, Royal Dutch Shell and Total all won offshore exploration contracts in March.
Russians signs onshore oil contract with Burma
Russia’s Bashneft International has signed a production-sharing contract with Myanma Oil & Gas Co and Sun Apex Holdings for inland oil block EP-4 in Pegu Division, according to Burmese state media on Tuesday, reporting that the Russian firm paid a US$4 million signature bonus and that it must conduct environmental and social impact assessments before drilling. Russian state media confirmed the deal, saying Bashneft had signed a three-year contract to investigate the seismicity and drilling of two survey wells.
Air Bagan to offer shares to staff
Air Bagan has announced a plan to distribute 40 percent of its more than 30 million shares to staff members for free as it bids to be listed as a public company. The Burmese airline said it had signed all necessary paperwork at the Office of the Registrar of Deeds and Assurances on 16 July. The airline, founded in 2004 by business tycoon Tay Za, is on the US sanctions list.
Power to the people
Speaking at a meeting between government officials and World Bank representatives, Burma’s Minister of Electric Power Khin Maung Soe said the government has drafted a plan to bring electricity to the entire country by the year 2030. The minister said the plan was drafted with assistance from the Japan International Cooperation Agency, which has already contributed some 5 billion yen (US$50 million) to provide electrical power to 160 villages around the country.
Burmese post and telecoms must improve to compete with foreign firms, says official
Customers in Burma say that state-run Myanmar Posts and Telecommunications’ (MPT) service is unsatisfactory and needs to improve now that the telecoms market has two new foreign-owned entries, Telenor and Ooredoo, a senior official in the MPT said on Tuesday. “At the moment, MPT dominates most of the market, but we do foresee that we will begin to lose market shares in the long term,” said the principal of the Telecommunications and Postal Training Centre, Kyaw Soe. “For this, we are trying to make our services more convenient and reliable for our customers.”
Thai Oil looks to refine operations in Thanlyin
Thai Oil and PTT have submitted a proposal to Myanmar Petrochemical Enterprise to upgrade its Thanlyin refinery near Rangoon. The alliance has been on the shortlist, with the result likely to be announced in the fourth quarter. The refinery upgrade is scheduled for 2016, with initial capacity of 15,000 bpd. Burma consumes only 70,000 bpd compared with Thailand’s 850,000 bpd even though the two countries are not far apart in population size.
Burma’s fish stock in severe decline
The Myanmar Fish Farmers Association (MFFA) has called for a national-level workshop to discuss the decline of fish stocks. Over the past few years, fish populations in Burmese waters have fallen dramatically due to over-fishing and pollution. The Myanmar Fisheries Federation (MFF) echoed the MFFA in saying that the decline is serious and said it wants to step up efforts to replenish fish stocks. “In 2012-13, around 150,000 tonnes of fish were caught. But from 2010 to 2014 the number gradually declined,” said Han Tun, vice-chairman of MFF, adding that since 2010 fish stocks off Burmese waters had almost halved.