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Myanmar energy sector gets mixed review

July 2, 2013 at 7:58 AM   |   Comments

NAYPYITAW, Myanmar, July 2 (UPI) -- International investors are reviewing the prospects for oil and natural gas developments in Myanmar but with a note of caution, an analyst said.

Myanmar attracted several dozen bids during an oil and natural gas auction early this year. The government expects to announce the winners by the end of 2013.

Last year, the U.S. government was among those easing sanctions on Myanmar's energy sector in response to political reforms.

Sugi Handako, a director at Singapore's Interra Resources Ltd., told the energy reporting website Rigzone the sentiment on Myanmar's energy sector was mixed.

He said some of the major U.S. oil and natural gas companies like Exxon Mobil and Chevron are expected to establish a presence. Chinese investors visited the country in May. French energy company Total and U.S. rig operator Transocean are among others expressing an interest in Myanmar.

Handoko was quoted as saying in an interview published Monday the offshore energy prospects in Myanmar are "quite risky," however, and the investments needed to development them are "quite high."

Easing some of the economic pressure on Myanmar will remove incentives for more reforms, human rights groups say. Myanmar moved to address international concerns on corruption by embracing transparency measures for its natural resources sector.

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