Myanmar has awarded tenders to explore for oil and gas in its 20 offshore blocks to international energy companies, including Royal Dutch Shell, ConocoPhillips and Total SA.

Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE) and the Burmese Ministry of Energy put 30 offshore blocks up for bidding last April, but out of the 61 international oil and gas firms pre-qualified, only 30 submitted formal proposals, and 20 have now been awarded with exploration rights for the blocks.

The final list of winners for both shallow and deep blocks also includes domestic Burmese energy companies such as BG Asia Pacific and Woodside Energy, who jointly won four blocks, according to International Business Times. Oil India, Mercator Petroleum and Oilmax Energy jointly won three blocks, while Italy’s ENI Myanmar BV won two.

"Oil India, Mercator Petroleum and Oilmax Energy jointly won three blocks, while Italy’s Eni Myanmar BV won two."

International winners of the tenders will be working with at least one local partner, according to the tender regulations. Winners will also be required to invest at least $3bn after production-sharing contracts are signed with MOGE, and the investment will entitle companies to 30-year licenses to explore and produce oil and gas offshore Burma, according to the Myanmar Times.

The Ministry of Energy’s energy planning department director general U Pe Zin Tun said: "We are going to have detailed discussions with winning candidates for production sharing contracts. Hopefully the contracts will be signed within the next three months."

The offshore oil and gas industry earned the Burmese government $1.5bn in the 2014 fiscal year ending in February, according to government data, while oil and gas overall earned around $4bn in the same period.