By WILLIAM BOOT
New Naypyidaw Airport to ‘Handle 10.5 Million People a Year’
The new airport being built in Burma’s capital of Naypyidaw will eventually be able to handle more than 10 million passengers per year, according to an industry report.
The airport is being built in three stages by the Burmese company Asia World, whose boss, Tun Myint Naing, also known as Steven Law, is on a U.S. sanctions list because of his close connections with the country’s military leaders.
The first-phase construction will have a capacity of 3.5 million passengers per year and is due to be completed in mid-2011, according to the airport construction industry Web site passengerterminaltoday.com.
The Web site quoted Singapore-based CPG Consultants for the figures, and said CPG designed the new airport.
After all three construction phases are completed, the airport will be able to handle 10.5 million passengers a year, according to the Web site. It did not give a date for the final completion.
Bangladesh, China Discuss Railway Link via Burma
The Bangladesh government has confirmed it has held talks with China about building a connecting railway via Burma.
The Dhaka administration said it is seeking financial support from Beijing to develop railway track that would link the Bangladeshi Indian Ocean port of Chittagong with China’s southwest Yunnan Province.
The aid was discussed during a visit to China by Bangladesh communications minister Syed Abdul Hossain.
“I hope to receive a positive response from the Chinese government,” Abdul Hossain told The Daily Star in Dhaka.
He has just returned from a visit to Beijing where he met top government leaders, including prime minister Wen Jiabao, and also went to Yunnan to met provincial chiefs, the paper reported.
Initially, the Bangladeshis are looking for finance for a 128-kilometer stretch of railway between Dohazari in Chittagong to Ramu adjacent to the border with Burma at Cox’s Bazaar.
The railway to China idea coincides with the announcement of plans by Dhaka to build a deep draft port at Chittagong to handle the world’s biggest cargo ships and tankers in a bid to become a regional transit hub for China and northeast India.
Thailand Looks for Gas Sources in Indonesia
A Southeast Asia energy official has hinted that gas production in some of Burma’s offshore fields may be declining.
The suggestion was made when Indonesia's Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Purnomo Yusigantoro disclosed that the Thailand state oil and gas firm PTT is negotiating to buy large volumes of gas from the still-to-be developed Natuna-D field in Indonesian waters.
“The gas supply [from Burma] now seems to be declining, so the company is looking for gas from other sources,” said Purnomo, who did not detail how much gas PTT might buy.
Purnomo was quoted by the US-based Oil & Gas Journal.
PTT is Burma’s biggest purchaser of natural gas, drawn from the Yadana and Yetagun fields in the Andaman Sea.
The Thai company’s overseas subsidiary PTTEP is also currently developing another big field in those waters.
PTTEP has said its exploratory drills so far in the M-9 block in the Gulf of Martaban indicate gas reserves of more than 50 billion cubic meters.
PTT has previously indicated an interest in co-developing the Natuna-D field with Indonesia’s state firm Pertamina.
Oil Firms Face ‘High Risk’ to Image by Operating in Burma
Foreign oil companies considering doing business in Burma should factor in the “high cost” to their reputations when they calculate the risks, said the human rights group EarthRights International.
They should also understand that any ideas for so-called corporate social responsibility programs inside Burma will always be flawed because of military regime involvement.
The warnings were made in an ERI report during an oil industry conference in Jakarta.
The ERI cited alleged human rights abuses by the military— including land confiscation, forced labor, rape and torture—associated with the construction of land pipelines from the offshore Yadana gas field to Thailand.
“Apart from the ongoing human rights impacts and flawed CSR (corporate social responsibility) programs connected to these projects, it will actually cost a company more to develop natural resources in Burma than to stay away from the country, due to unreasonably high reputation and material risks,” said Matthew Smith of ERI.