Daewoo says no plan to change Myanmar investment

 @ibtimes on September 28 2007 10:51 AM

South Korea's Daewoo International Corp, which leads a multi-billion dollar energy project in Myanmar, will not alter its investments there following a violent government crackdown on protests, the company said on Friday.

Daewoo operates Myanmar's large A-1 and A-3 natural gas fields, South Korea's largest overseas energy project, which hold 4.53-7.74 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of recoverable reserves.

We have gas fields under production and three other fields under exploration, which are all long-time investments. They can't be easily changed because of domestic issues, said Cho Sang-hyun, spokesman for Daewoo International.

Politics is politics. Economics is economics.

The fields are being operated by an international consortium, with Daewoo having a 60 percent stake in the blocks. Other stakeholders include Korea Gas Corp. with a 10 percent stake, India's Oil and Natural Gas Corp. with 20 percent, while India's natural gas utility GAIL owns 10 percent.

Myanmar state media said nine people were killed when soldiers fired on crowds in Yangon on Thursday, drawing international outrage.

Despite the country's political isolation and Western sanctions, Myanmar's offshore natural gas fields have become a hotly contested commodity as neighbors seek stable, secure sources of cleaner fuel for their fast-growing economies.

Myanmar has at least 90 tcf of gas reserves and 3.2 billion barrels of recoverable crude oil reserves in 19 onshore and three major offshore fields.

Earlier this week, French President Nicolas Sarkozy urged French firms, including oil major Total, to hold back from making new investments in Myanmar. Chevron is also a major stakeholder in the Total-led project.

But Total, the world's fourth-largest publicly traded integrated oil and gas company, said its departure from Myanmar would only aggravate the situation.

The oil firm's presence in Myanmar, where it leads a consortium that extracts gas offshore, has been frequently attacked by human rights activists.

In December, South Korean prosecutors charged 14 defense industry executives, including some from Daewoo International, with illegally exporting to Myanmar equipment and technology for making tens of thousands of artillery rounds.

Many countries including U.S., France, India, China and Russia are either under production or under exploration in Myanmar. These are long-term plans, and they can't be impacted because of the protests, said the Daewoo spokesman.

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