Oil and Gas in Myanmar

Myanmar is one of the world's oldest oil producers, exporting its first barrel in 1853. Rangoon Oil Company, the first foreign oil company to drill in the country, was created in 1871. Between 1886 and 1963, the country's oil industry was dominated by Burmah Oil Company (BOC), which discovered the Yenangyaung field in 1887 and the Chauk field in 1902. Both are still in production.

Offshore gaz exploitation

The oil and gas industry was nationalized after a socialist-leaning military regime seized power in 1962. As in many other countries, the State assumed ownership of the resources, either operating them itself or delegating this task to private operators, who were paid for their outlay and work in oil or gas under production sharing contracts (PSCs).

The linchpin of oil and gas policy in Myanmar is the Ministry of Energy, which has oversight for three state-owned enterprises:

  • Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE), created in 1963, is responsible for oil and gas exploration and production, as well as domestic gas transmission through a 1,200-mile onshore pipeline network.
  • Myanma Petrochemical Enterprise (MPE) operates three small refineries, three fertilizer plants and a number of other processing plants.
  • Myanma Petroleum Products Enterprise (MPPE) is responsible for retail and wholesale distribution of petroleum products.

Since nationalization, the country's oil policy has gone through two distinct periods:

  •  From 1962 to 1988, oil exploration and production were mainly performed by MOGE; foreign operators were kept out by a strict nationalistic policy and the lack of an appropriate legal framework.

  • In 1988, Myanmar passed foreign investment legislation and began relying on outside technology and capital to revive its oil and gas industry.
A local worker is having a rest

In 2007, nine foreign oil companies(1) were involved in 16 onshore blocks to explore new areas, to enhance recovery from existing fields, to reactivate fields where production had been suspended and to produce oil and gas.

In the offshore, Total E&P Myanmar, Petronas Carigali Myanmar, Daewoo, PTT-EP, China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), China National Petrochemical Corporation (CNPC), Essar, GAIL, Malaysia’s Rimbunam, India’s ONGC, Silver Wave Energy, Australia’s Danford Equities and Russia’s Sun Itera Oil & Gas are exploring and/or developing 31 blocks.

Since late 2004, Myanmar’s authorities have intensified the opening of blocks to foreign companies.

Myanmar’s oil output is small, with gas taking over. The country produces around 180, 000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, of which 90% is gas.

(million cubic feet per day)
Oil and Condensate
(barrels per day)
Onshore 110  8,000
Offshore Yadana : 758
Yetagun : 460
 12,000 (condensate)

2007 figures.

(1) Myanmar Petroleum Resources Ltd, Focus Energy Ltd, Westburne, China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), China National Petrochemical Corporation (CNPC), Sinopec, Essar, Goldpetrol and a representative of the Republic of Kalmykia.