Myanmar said it is still willing to supply gas to the proposed tri-nation gas pipeline despite its deal with a Chinese company for sale of gas from its A-1 block.
The Myanmar authorities have already conveyed the message to Mohona Holdings Limited, a Bangladeshi company that initiated the project in 1997 to carry natural gas from Myanmar through Bangladesh to India.
"Myanmar is still interested in supplying gas to the proposed tri-nation gas pipeline but it doesn't want to waste time waiting for India and Bangladesh to agree on a simple issue," Managing Director of the Mohona Holdings Limited K B Ahmed told the FE Saturday.
He also said the cost of the proposed tri-nation pipeline project will increase due to the signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with PetroChina, a state-owned Chinese company, for the sale of gas from the A-1 block.
Now the available block close to Bangladesh bordering area is A-2 and if the Myanmar authorities want to sell gas to India, at least 150 km additional pipeline will have to be built to reach out gas to India.
Ahmed explained that the project was mainly designed to bring gas to India from Myanmar's A-1 block, which is near to Teknaf of Bangladesh.
Myanmar will provide gas to the pipeline from other gas blocks instead of A-1 if Bangladesh and India were successful in ironing out their differences over the gas pipeline project.
On December 07 last year, Myanmar inked an MoU with the PetroChina on supplying 6.5 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of gas from A-1 Block in the Bay of Bengal.
The deal came to light when Indian Petroleum Ministry Joint Secretary (Gas) Ajay Tyagi returned to New Delhi last weekend cutting short his trip to Rangoon, after the Myanmar authorities had told him that they had already tied up with PetroChina for sale of gas from the field.
The Myanmar decision to sell gas to China from the block came on the eve of Aiyar's three-day visit to China to discuss bilateral cooperation in search of energy sources abroad where China had been outbidding India in a number of cases.
The Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister of India Mani Sankar Aiyar is now planning a visit to Yangon later this month in this connection with the proposed tri-nation gas pipeline project, sources in the oil-industry confirmed.
Myanmar government has already given its commitment to supplying gas to the pipeline but is not mentioning any of its specific gas blocks as per the proposal, submitted by the Mohona Holdings earlier.
Earlier, the governments of India and Myanmar approved Mohona's proposal for the cross-border pipeline on build-own-operate (BOO) basis by an international consortium.
The three nations' energy ministers met in Rangoon on January 12-13, 2005 and decided, among other things, to proceed with the proposal of the gas pipeline project.
Though the three countries had agreed on the US$1.0 billion pipeline project originating from Arakan of Myanmar to Kolkata, not much progress has so far been made due to lack of proper initiatives.