Woodside petroleum mulls myanmar gas sales to china, thailand

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Woodside Petroleum is considering piping gas from its discoveries off the coast of Myanmar to China or Thailand as part of a strategy to accelerate development of the finds as progress at its large Browse floating LNG project has faltered.

Gas from the two finds, r eported in January and February this year, could be taken onshore and fed into the Myanmar market, or piped through spare capacity in existing onshore pipelines to Thailand or up to China, chief operating officer Mike Utsler said.

“You have three markets that are already in place, with piping and infrastructure already in place that you can bring the offshore connection in,” Mr Utsler told reporters on the sidelines of the LNG18 conference in Perth.


Woodside, the largest acreage holder in Myanmar, has previously hinted at a keen desire to see early development of the new finds, which were made at the north and south end of its strip of acreage off the coast and in different geological play types. The drilling successes have heightened expectations that similar finds could be forthcoming in the several other prospects that Woodside has identified in the blocks.

The news came a day after chief executive Peter Coleman confirmed Woodside was moving ahead with a revised development plan for the 100 million barrel Greater Enfield oil project off Western Australia, which could involve an investment of $US1 billion to $US1.5 billion for the local player. Early engineering work is well underway ahead of an expected final investment decision around the end of June or early July by Woodside and its partner Mitsui. The project, which had earlier been deferred, will now be developed gradually, with about two-thirds of the resource to be recovered in the initial phase, starting up in late 2018 or early 2019.

Woodside is hoping to develop its gas finds in Myanmar sooner rather than later. Photo: Washington Post

Woodside is moving ahead with Enfield and seeking the early development of Myanmar gas after it and its partners in the proposed Browse floating LNG project decided against moving forward with construction because the investment wasn’t profitable enough. The decision has left Woodside searching elsewhere in its portfolio for growth as Browse was its biggest expansion option over the next few years.

Mr Utsler said Woodside was “very excited” about the exploration and development prospects in Myanmar, which he described as a “very resource-rich opportunity”. He said Woodside expected to resume drilling there in early 2017 in a series of back-to-back wells intended to firm up the size of the fields.

Development of the gas is made easier by existing infrastructure just offshore that tie into the local grid.

“We’ll look at a wide range of development constructs but there is offshore, near shore development already that could be tied into via pipeline, and then that pipeline from offshore to onshore allows you to connect into the on-land grid,” Mr Utlser said.