U.S. Energy Information Administration - EIA - Independent Statistics and Analysis
Country Analysis Note
- Burma (Myanmar) is an important natural gas producer in Southeast Asia, though its upstream hydrocarbons sector is underdeveloped. Sanctions, a lack of technical capacity, opaque regulatory policy, and insufficient investment by foreign firms have significantly impeded the country’s efforts to realize its oil and natural gas production potential as well as develop necessary energy infrastructure. However, many U.S. and European Union sanctions were eased or suspended in 2012 in response to political and economic reforms in Burma.
- The government is keen to attract foreign investment and technical assistance and is issuing production-sharing contracts through direct negotiations or recent licensing rounds. The government began holding licensing rounds for oil and natural gas fields in 2011. As part of its most recent bidding round initiated in 2013, Burma awarded 10 deepwater and 10 shallow-water offshore blocks to several foreign and domestic companies. Burma began reforming its foreign direct investment law and providing greater revenue incentives for international company investments in 2012.
- Burma produces a minimal amount of crude oil and condensates from the onshore Salin basin and offshore Yetagun field. Total liquid fuels production has gradually increased over the past decade from 13,000 barrels per day (bbl/d) in 2000 to 21,000 bbl/d in 2013. However, Burma’s limited production and refining capacity are insufficient to meet domestic demand for crude oil and petroleum products, making the country a net oil importer.
- Burma’s natural gas production has increased substantially over the past decade, rising from 61 billion cubic feet (Bcf) in 1999 to 416 Bcf in 2012. The country’s current natural gas output mostly comes from the offshore Yadana and Yetagun fields, but is forecasted to rise further due to new projects. Burma’s natural gas consumption, which was 116 Bcf in 2012 dropping from a peak of 146 Bcf in 2005, has lagged behind production levels.
- Natural gas exports to Thailand, which began in 1999, now account for roughly 70% of Burma’s natural gas output. PTTEP, Thailand’s national oil company, launched commercial operations of the Zawtika gas project in 2014, which is expected to produce 300 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d) and increase natural gas exports to Thailand. Thailand announced it plans to invest an additional $3.3 billion in Burmese oil and natural gas development by 2020. Meanwhile, exports to China commenced in 2013 with the development of the Shwe natural gas project in the Rakhine Basin, which could have a peak production capacity of 500 MMcf/d.
- In a 2009 agreement, Burma and China decided to construct twin crude oil and gas pipelines running from Burma’s port of Kyaukphyu to Kunming in southwestern China. A consortium of Asian oil companies, including the China National Petroleum Corporation, commissioned the onshore natural gas pipeline with a capacity of 424 Bcf/y in 2013 to carry exported gas from the Shwe gas project to China. The crude oil pipeline, holding a capacity of 440,000 bbl/d is designed to allow China to diversify transit routes for its oil imports from the Middle East and Africa, which must currently pass through the Strait of Malacca. This pipeline is scheduled to commence operations in 2014, although internal conflicts and protests against the pipeline within Myanmar have posed challenges to the project’s start-up.
- Burma relies heavily on hydropower for most of its electricity generation (71% in 2011). The electricity sector fails to meet the country’s needs, with about 49% of the total population and 29% of the rural population having access to electricity in 2011, according IEA estimates. In addition, aging power plants and poor electricity transmission infrastructure cause severe power shortages. Consequently, traditional biomass and waste (typically consisting of wood, charcoal, manure, and crop residues) is widely utilized and accounts for about two-thirds of Burma’s primary energy consumption. This has prompted efforts to invest in more hydroelectric, natural gas, and coal-fired electric capacity, improve grid reliability, and promote demand management.
Revised: June 12, 2014
Analysis Last Updated: June 2014
Overview data for Burma (Myanmar)+ EXPAND ALL
-- = Not applicable; NA = Not available; E = Estimate value
Sources: EIA. For more detailed data, see International Energy Statistics.
Data last updated: May 30, 2013
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