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Published on Monday, 21 January 2013 16:13
A spokesperson for China National Petroleum Corporation has rebutted complaints that its controversial pipeline project to transport offshore oil and gas from Rakhine State to China has failed to compensate people who lost land to it.
The spokesperson also said the pipeline was being constructed according to “international standards” after a report by Eleven Media last week quoted critics of the project saying its construction was shoddy and that the country was being shortchanged in the deal.
Residents of Kyaukphyu Township in Rakhine State also called for a suspension of the project until concerns over its environmental and social impacts were addressed.
“We gave compensation to locals,” the CNPC spokesperson said, adding that “the Chinese government will take action if we don’t follow their rules and regulations in big projects”.
“We negotiated with local governments, the farmers and the company [contracted to build the pipeline] to pay compensation for land. We gave the set price,” he said.
The dual pipelines, one for gas and one for oil, are being buried at a depth of 0.76 meters, which is in accord with international standards, the CNPC spokesperson said.
Chen Jian, China’s Deputy Minister of Commerce, last week called on CNPC to investigate the dispute with residents in Rakhine State and said the project would benefit both countries.
“Myanmar people will know the mutual benefits if they go to the project area and study it,” Chen Jian said, adding: “I heard that the protesters are not locals in some project areas.”
The pipelines will operate for 30 years with the government receiving US$13.81 million per year in royalties. It will also receive royalties based on the amount of oil and gas transported, with some sources saying that total could exceed $600 million over 30 years. Critics of the project say it lacks transparency, has damaged the environment, cost farmers land and crops, and will provide China with cheap oil and gas while Myanmar’s commercial hub, Yangon, continues to experience power outages.