At present, there is only a wide road and vast fields but the area will soon be a flourishing major economic hub for neighbouring countries including Thailand and Myanmar. It is the site of the Dawei deep-sea port, the largest in the country, with a project area spanning thousands of square kilometres.
Research and Markets has announced the addition of the “Myanmar Oil Gas Industry Analysis and Forecast Report (Q1 2016). The premier report provides analysis of key opportunities and associated challenges facing Myanmar oil and gas industry. Amidst several challenges confronting the oil and gas industry including fall in prices, changing market conditions, oil and gas sector risk and shift in competitive landscape, the report provides detailed insights into critical short and long term factors set to shape the outlook.
Communities living along the Thanlwin River have requested that the new government stop dam projects on the river as the projects lack transparency support from the locals. Analysts said the main reasons to stop the dam projects are connected with climate change in Myanmar.
Hkawn San is one of about 5,000 people who were resettled by Chinese contractors from the catchment area behind the projected Myitsone Dam, which Myanmar President Thein Sein abruptly and unexpectedly cancelled in 2011, shortly after he took office. Like those in far too many other resettlement villages, Hkawn San is not happy.
“The house here has problems, we get barely enough food to survive, but we do not get enough money, so people have to go around trying to find day work,” she said, sitting in front of her new but already decaying house in Aung Myint Thar, one of the two resettlement villages located north of Myitkyina, the capital of Myanmar’s Kachin State.
The Mytsone Dam was meant to be one of the world’s largest, to be built at the confluence of the Mali Hka and the N’Mai Hka, the two streams that form the Irrawaddy, Myanmar’s most fabled river. The Irrawaddy Valley is considered to be the birthplace of Burmese civilization . It is now a bone of contention between Myanmar, with whom the cancellation was enormously popular, and China, which is seeking to restart construction.
With public opposition to major infrastructure projects a growing concern, and willing partners in neighboring countries eager to pick of the slack, Thailand’s industrialists are fanning out in all directions. Energy projects dominate the mix, including coal, gas and hydropower. As a result, it’s the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand driving much of the activity.
Representatives of US companies have become frequent guests at the Myanmar Federation of Chamber of Commerce and Industry these days as they explore business opportunities in the long-isolated country.
The visits have gathered pace since the National League for Democracy (NLD) won the election and the power transition from military rule appeared to be going smoothly, Win Aung, president of the federation, said last week.
“I strongly believe that Myanmar-US economic relations will strengthen in the next government’s term.
In September 2011, Myanmar President Thein Sein announced that construction of China’s largest hydroelectric project in Southeast Asia — the $3.6 billion-plus Myitsone dam in northern Myanmar — would be suspended for the duration of his term.
This came as a shock to China, which had believed that Myanmar was securely within the Sinocentric orbit, if not quite a “client state.”
Participants at a land rights seminar in Mon State urged the incoming National League for Democracy (NLD)-led government to address past practices of land confiscation with a special court dedicated to the issue.
Mon State’s Salween Eastern Farmers and Land Users Seminar was held in Moulmein for two days, from February 14-15, with over 90 representatives participating from five Mon State townships and one Tenasserim Division township, all selected for their locations east of the Salween River. Also present were Moulmein-based farmers’ organizations and civil society groups focused on land rights.
More than 200 representatives from Kalonehtar village in Dawei organized a spiritual ceremony last week to symbolize their ongoing protest against the mega Dawei Special Economic Zone to be built under a joint venture deal between the Thai, Maymar and Japan governments. Under the current project plan about 1,000 villagers would be resettled to pave way for a reservoir to feed the new industry complex.
“We believe that we have the right to determine our own sustainable future on our native lands,’ they declared. “We, the Kalonehtar villagers, will not move from our native place and we will not accept any project that does not respect our right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent. We do not support any part of the Dawei SEZ project.”
Villagers in Ayeyarwady Region, Mon State and elsewhere across Myanmar are refusing to accept plans for power projects in their neighbourhoods, fearful pollution will harm their health, farms and fisheries. Evidence from around the world, including China, India and Thailand, suggests they are right to be worried.
In 2014, energy use caused damage worldwide amounting to US$5.3 trillion, according to analysts’ estimates at the International Monetary Fund. Of that, $5.124 trillion was due to fossil fuels with two-thirds attributed to coal. Climate change accounted for a quarter of the costs, with the rest due to sickness, premature death and degradation of the environment.
Analysts believe the damage adds up to 8-16 per cent of GDP for developing countries in Asia, which for Myanmar equates to $4-8 billion in 2014.
The price of property in Dawei has risen beyond the reach of local residents as investors from overseas and Upper Myanmar buy up land in anticipation of a new special economic zone.
While the zone has been eight years in the making, there are still few signs of development on the ground. However, recent announcements that construction is moving ahead, combined with escalating conflict in the north of the country, has led to a rise in real estate investment in the area, local residents said.
Buying property in Tanintharyi Region is an “adventure for investors” they added, as township authorities have no specific land-use policies and land ownership documents are scarce. It is therefore hard to discover who owns the land, as sellers often do not transfer ownership in written form.
Myanmar’s government currently collects much of the trillions of kyat generated by oil, gas, gemstones and other minerals each year, primarily through its state-owned economic enterprises (SEEs). In the face of such centralized control over revenue, many ethnic groups have long asserted their right to make decisions over resource management in their states. In fact, combatants in areas of active conflict and leaders from several ethnic minority parties—particularly those associated with Kachin, Rakhine and Shan states—have openly called for greater resource revenue sharing.