Thailand’s state-owned energy company PTT Exploration and Production (PTTEP) has announced its intention to bid for the Yadana gas field in Myanmar, following the exit of TotalEnergies and Chevron in response to the mounting humanitarian crisis since the nation’s military coup.
The Western energy majors held a joint 59.5% stake in Yadana, which they both gave up in January this year as they faced increasing pressure from human rights groups to cut off any financial support to the junta, whose violence against civilians has been labelled crimes against humanity.
Since the majors’ exit from Yadana, questions have been circulating as to who will take over its operation, with PTTEP a seemingly obvious choice given its existing 25.5% stake in the field. The group also already holds a majority share of the Zawtika field in Myanmar and, if it were to take on Yadana, would operate more than half of Myanmar’s overall gas supply.
The Yadana field contributes 10%-15% of Thailand’s gas demand, making it a crucial part of the nation’s energy security. Last year alone, Yadana produced 770 million cubic feet per day (mmscfd) of gas, with about 570mmscfd of that supplied to Thailand and the rest used to supply around half of Myanmar’s power needs.
Bringing PTTEP in as an operator of the field is expected to provide greater security for gas supply and revenues for both Myanmar and Thailand itself.
“PTTEP is carefully considering potential directions of the Yadana project…putting the utmost importance for the energy security of Thailand and Myanmar and preventing impacts on energy demand to the livelihood of people in both countries,” the company said in a statement on Thursday.
According to Zaw Min Tun, lead spokesman for Myanmar’s State Administration Council, a number of local firms have also expressed interest in becoming part of the project, and discussions have begun between the government, PTTEP, and other prospective buyers.
“[PTTEP] has offered us that they’re willing to take over all shares of Total and Chevron. But we’re not sure whether or not we should allow it to acquire all these shares,” Tun said.