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Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Myanmar 's got gas

Headline: Giant Myanmar gas field may feed LNG, two pipelines
Myanmar's giant A-1 gas find may be large enough to support an expanded liquefied natural gas (LNG) export project as well as new pipelines to India and Thailand, a senior oil official said on Tuesday.
Myanmar, also known as Burma, is an extremely repressive regime and things are not good economically:
Burma is a resource-rich country that suffers from government controls, inefficient economic policies, and abject rural poverty. The junta took steps in the early 1990s to liberalize the economy after decades of failure under the "Burmese Way to Socialism", but those efforts have since stalled and some of the liberalization measures have been rescinded. Burma has been unable to achieve monetary or fiscal stability, resulting in an economy that suffers from serious macroeconomic imbalances - including inflation and multiple official exchange rates that overvalue the Burmese kyat. In addition, most overseas development assistance ceased after the junta began to suppress the democracy movement in 1988 and subsequently ignored the results of the 1990 legislative elections. Economic sanctions against Burma by the United States - including a ban on imports of Burmese products and a ban on provision of financial services by US persons in response to the government of Burma's attack in May 2003 on AUNG SAN SUU KYI and her convoy - further slowed the inflow of foreign exchange. Official statistics are inaccurate. Published statistics on foreign trade are greatly understated because of the size of the black market and unofficial border trade - often estimated to be one to two times the size of the official economy. Though the Burmese government has good economic relations with its neighbors, a better investment climate and an improved political situation are needed to promote foreign investment, exports, and tourism. In February 2003, a major banking crisis hit the country's 20 private banks, shutting them down and disrupting the economy. As of January 2004, the largest private banks remained moribund, leaving the private sector with little formal access to credit.(source
Of course, being a source of energy for neighbors may change the dynamics somewhat...

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