Wednesday, June 26

Brunei in talks with Myanmar on concessions


BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN: Brunei has begun talks with Myanmar to look into the possibility of working with the country in regards to offshore concessions that they have to offer, Borneo Bulletin reported.

This was confirmed yesterday by the Minister of Energy at the Prime Minister’s Office, Pehin Datu Singamanteri Colonel (Rtd) Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Awg Haji Mohammad Yasmin bin Haji Umar, speaking to the Borneo Bulletin.

“We are exploring it and have held initial talks already” he said. “PetroleumBrunei has talked with their counterparts in Myanmar, and I have also spoken with the Energy Ministry in Myanmar,” he added.

In a titah delivered on December 4 during a State Banquet hosted in honour of visiting Myanmar President, U Thein Sein, His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam said he sees potential for greater growth in joint ventures, especially in the area of oil exploration.

“This is something we are working at, and of course with the titah of His Majesty, we have started on it,” said Pehin Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Awg Haji Mohammad Yasmin.

Asked how well the initial talks have gone, he said that they have been “very good”, adding that Brunei’s interest is in the concessions being opened up by Myanmar.

“They are releasing a lot of concessions, offshore concessions, which are very important to us,” he said.

He added that this was important for Brunei as it would give a chance for PetroleumBrunei, as a Bruneian company, to work outside our borders.

This, he said, will help increase the value of Bruneians and will also help with local business development.

Meanwhile, Mr Hau Do Suan, Director-General of the Political Department of Myanmar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Myanmar is anticipating the expansion of its economic investment cooperation with the Sultanate.

Speaking to the Borneo Bulletin on the sidelines of President Thein Sein’s visit to Brunei LNG yesterday, the Director-General elaborated on this point. “Brunei is one of the leading countries in the region in the oil and gas sector. We also have quite a large potential of developing our oil and gas sector, so we can work together,” he said, adding that he feels that Brunei has a lot of expertise that Myanmar can make use of and that there are very good prospects for cooperation in this area.

He also said that the two countries are currently cooperating in capacity building and human resource development, with projects already ongoing.

Responding to a question on what Myanmar can offer to Brunei, he said, “Myanmar is the largest land mass country in Southeast Asia and we have a sizeable workforce with a pretty acceptable level of education in our country.

“We have plenty of labour and natural resources as well, and we have created an environment that is conducive for investment,” he added.

“We have also just enacted a foreign investment law which is quite advantageous for foreign investors around the world.”

Speaking of the visit itself, he said that the primary purpose was to renew the friendship and cooperation between the two nations, as well as to strengthen further the framework of Asean.

“We have had a good and friendly relationship with Brunei since relations began a few years ago,” he continued. “This is the commitment of our country to continue and further strengthen relations with our fellow Asean country Brunei.”