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Thailand's PTTEP makes gas discovery in block M3 offshore Myanmar

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Thailand's PTTEP makes gas discovery in block M3 offshore Myanmar

Thailand's PTT Exploration and Production, the upstream arm of state-owned energy group PTT, has made gas discoveries in four appraisal wells drilled in block M3, offshore Myanmar.

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The four appraisal wells are Aung Sinkha-3, Aung Sinkha-4, Aung Sinkha-5 and Aung Sinkha-6.

The Aung Sinkha-3 well flowed gas at approximately 34,500 Mcf/d and condensate at 195 b/d, PTTEP said in a statement Wednesday.


The Aung Sinkha-5 well showed gas flow rates of approximately 9,000 Mcf/d, while the Aung Sinkha-6 well indicated gas flow rates of about 14,000 Mcf/d and also had associated condensate flow rates of approximately 1,820 b/d, the company said.

The Aung Sinkha-4 well, however, did not flow any gas despite a discovery in the reservoir because the equipment for acidizing limestone reservoirs could not be prepared, the company said.

Acidizing is a type of stimulation treatment implemented to restore natural permeability of the reservoir and enable hydrocarbon flows.

PTTEP plans to conduct additional drilling of appraisal wells in 2014 for potential development and production from the Aung Sinkha field, the company said.

The company expects to start development of block M3 in 2016 at the earliest, according to a presentation made by the company to analysts earlier this month.

PTTEP holds an 80% operating interest in block M3, located in the Gulf of Moattama, with Mitsui Oil Exploration Co. holding the remaining 20%.

PTTEP has invested in several upstream projects in Myanmar, including the Yadana, Yetagun, Zawtika, M3 and M11, and PSC G and EP 2 projects.

The Yadana and Yetagun projects are in production, Zawtika is in the development stage, and the others are in the exploration stage.

The company expects to begin producing 300,000 Mcf/d of gas from the Zawtika project located in the Gulf of Martaban by end 2013.

PTTEP DENIES BRIBERY ALLEGATIONS

Separately, PTTEP denied media reports that it engaged in non-transparency and bribery for the acquisition of deepwater blocks MD-7 and MD-8 offshore Myanmar.

A report published earlier this month in the Myanmar Times questioned why blocks MD-7 and MD-8 were not offered in the offshore bidding round launched in April and were awarded to PTTEP directly.

"PTTEP would like to clarify that the process of direct negotiation for both blocks started in early 2010 before the current Offshore Exploration Block Bidding Round. In early 2013, the Myanmar Cabinet approved the exploration rights for those deepwater blocks to PTTEP," it said in a statement Tuesday.

PTTEP as a state-owned and national oil company of Thailand adheres to its codes of business conduct which encompass transparency, the company added.

PTTEP is planning to synergize the exploration activities in blocks MD-7 and MD-8 with its exploration activities in the adjacent Thai concessions in the Andaman Sea, the company said, adding that MD-7 and MD-8 have not yet been explored, thus the amount of oil and gas cannot be identified.

Concerns over the transparency of new oil and gas concessions were behind the downfall of the former energy minister, Than Htay, and his deputy, Htin Aung, according to local media reports.

Than Htay was transferred to the Ministry of Rail Transportation by presidential order and has been replaced by Zay Yar Aung.

Investor sentiment has improved considerably in Myanmar since the lifting of international sanctions two years back, but concerns surrounding transparency and accountability within the government remain.

To address the issue, the government earlier this year set up the National Energy Management Committee and Energy Development Committee to boost transparency and strengthen coordination and planning among the energy sector's institutions.

--Mriganka Jaipuriyar, mriganka.jaipuriyar@platts.com

--Edited by E Shailaja Nair, shailaja.nair@platts.com