Thu 19 Jul 2012
Filed under: Opinion
The government should review the Myanmar-China oil and gas pipeline projects as the economic return to society as the income from the right-of-way is “unjustifiably small”, according to an opposition MP and an activist.
The project between state-owned Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise and China’s CNPC South-East Asia Pipeline Co, Ltd, will involve Myanmar being paid US$13.8 million annually for the right of way.
This is accompanied by a further one US dollar per one tonne of oil paid as a transit fee, and oil and gas supply loyalty fee will be received on a proportionate basis, according to the Energy Ministry.
U Aye Maung, chairman of Rakhine Nationals Development Party and representative of the Amyotha Hluttaw, said Myanmar should be paid according to the international standards.
“All natural resources are concerned with all the people. If they are to be exploited, they must be discussed in the Parliament that represents the people. For example, what amount will be extracted and what amount will be reserved. The project that was started before the emergence of Parliament should be discussed and reviewed extensively. The government should assess how the existing agreements can affect our citizen,” commented U Ko Ko Gyi, a leader of ’88′ Students Generation.
An expert from World Wildlife Fund, which conducted study in Rakhine State in 2011, assessed that the oil and gas projects – forest and soil depletion, loses of farmlands and people’s livelihoods and possible ecosystem degradation would be extensive in the region.
A local farmer from Yegyansu Village in Pyin Oo Lwin Township, said,”They started paying compensation earlier this year. They said compensation would be paid in two portions. But there are some who have been paid nothing and some who have not been paid the second portion. The project has also made the local people landless.”
Natural gas produced offhshore from the Rakhine State will be sent to Yunnan Province of China via pipelines passing through Magway, Mandalay and Shan State regions. Oil from the central east part is also due to be sent through pipelines from Kyaukphyu Port.
However, disadvantages have outnumbered advantages as many losses have erupted such as displacement of the local people, losses of farmlands and environmental degradation. Critics say that Myanmar s The Shwe Gas project block has an area of 4,390 acres and is expected to commence production on May 1, 2013.
The Shwe Gas project block has an area of 4,390 acres and is expected to commence production on May 1, 2013.
The oil from the Myanmar’s central east part, meanwhile, will be transported to terminals on Made Island and then sent to China via the oil tanker port through pipelines in parallel with gas pipelines.
Since 2000, Myanmar is among top 20 nations exporting gas through pipelines. It will like move to top 10 when Shwe and Zawtika projects start in 2013.
“Whenever an agreement was signed between Myanmar and China, the former looses out. If such agreements are made, they can affect the economic and friendly relations between the two countries. When the Myitsone dam project started, the ratio was 90 to 10 (electricity distribution to China and Myanmar).”
“Now the current issue should not be like the Myitsone project. Parliament should review the amount of earnings from the ongoing project, which is very small when compared with the situation where the country is being affected in terms of both geographic strategy and national security. It is necessary to make assessment to get a justified amount of earnings. During the assessment period, the project must be suspended or not. The money paid for the right of way is not even seven million dollars a year. About US$ 20,000 a day is just nothing. The energy ministry should address this issue in Parliament, commented Dr Than Htut Aung, CEO of Eleven Media Group.