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Myanmar to hold oil and gas auction

Jan. 18, 2013 at 8:30 AM

NAYPYITAW, Myanmar, Jan. 18 (UPI) -- The government of Myanmar announced it was accepting bids for 18 onshore blocks up for auction in its second oil and natural gas licensing round.

The Ministry of Energy issued a statement explaining that state-owned Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise would serve as a partner alongside at least one other state-owned enterprise.

"The petroleum operation shall be conducted on production sharing basis and/or improved petroleum recovery basis," a ministry statement published by the Myanmar Times read.

Representatives from French company Total visited Myanmar in June to discuss prospects in the country. Last year, President Barack Obama signed an executive order authorizing U.S. investments in Myanmar in light of political reforms that began with general elections in 2010.

U.S. Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., for his part, met recently with Myanmar President Thein Sein to explain that U.S. oil and natural gas companies were ready to invest in the country's economy.

The CIA World Factbook estimates that Myanmar holds around 50 million barrels of oil reserves and roughly 1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

Bids are due by March 17. The country held its first oil and natural gas auction in August 2011.

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