International oil companies are kicking off exploration activities in Myanmar offshore, after completing environmental and social impact assessment surveys.
Global oil giants are beginning to launch 2D and 3D seismic surveys in their newly awarded offshore blocks, said an official from Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE).
The coming years, particularly 2016-2017, will be the busiest period for Myanmar offshore activity, as companies in existing blocks also ramp up exploration activities, he said.
Heavyweights Petronas and Chevron launched new exploration activities at the end of October, and Royal Dutch Shell will begin this month.
PC Myanmar (Hong Kong), the local subsidiary of Malaysian state giant Petronas, began drilling development wells in blocks M-12, M-13 and M-14 on November 1.
The company will dig the wells in its Yetagun field in the Andaman Sea to maintain production levels, an official from Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE) told The Myanmar Times.
A review into declining natural gas production at the Yetagun project – the second-oldest of Myanmar’s four offshore gas production sites – was carried out after output fell from 450 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd) to around 360 mmcfd.
Drilling activities will continue until July 30 next year, according to a notice issued by the Department of Fisheries through state media.
Petronas’ plans to increase production in Myanmar have been delayed due to falling oil prices.
The Malaysian company intended to drill two exploration wells last year but finally drilled just one,according to MOGE.
Chevron’s Myanmar subsidiary, Unocal Myanmar Offshore, started exploration activities in block A-5 in the Rakhine basin off Myanmar’s western coast in the Bay of Bengal, on October 26.
The company will continue its 3D seismic campaigns in A-5 until the end of next January, using the Viking Vision vessel, according to the notice in state media.
The US oil company was awarded exploration and production rights to shallow water block A-5 in 2013, marking its return to Myanmar after many years.
Unocal has a long history of operating in the country, but faced economic sanctions in the 1990s for dealing with the military government.
Chevron and MOGE signed production sharing contract for A-5 early this year.
“Unocal will acquire 4380 square kilometres for 2D and 1360 sq km for 3D in block A-5,” said the MOGE official.
Another major international oil giant Shell, will conduct 3D seismic surveys in all three of its awarded blocks – AD-9 and AD-11 in the Rakhine basin and MD-5 in the Tanintharyi basin – beginning this month, said the official.
Shell was given the rights to the three blocks in Myanmar’s first offshore bidding round in 2013.
Shell and its Japanese partner Mitsui Oil Exploration signed a production sharing contract for the blocks with the ministry this February.
The international oil giant will use deepwater technology for exploration in water depth of approximately 1800 to 2700 metres according to MOGE.
“Royal Dutch Shell will take 4290 sq km in block AD-9 and 4780 sq km in AD-11 for 3D seismic [activity],” the official said.