Energy crisis predicted after 2020

Myanmar may face an energy crisis after 2020 as oil and gas production has declined and the newly discovered sites are not ready to fill the gap, according to Than Tun, an adviser to Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprises under the Ministry of Energy.

“We cannot expect what will happen beyond 2020. The newly discovered Shwe Yee Tun block has good prospects. There may be a gap beyond 2020,” said Than Tun, who is also a retired director from the energy ministry. He was speaking at a conference called Changes for Myanmar Oil and Gas Sector, 2016-21 at the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry in Yangon.

“There are four gas projects: Yadana, Yetagon, Shwe and Zawtika. It is estimated that four projects have 16 trillion cubic feet of gas reserves in total. About 40 per cent of those reserves have already been extracted from the four projects. The natural gas production is about 1,900 to 2,000 million cubic feet per day. About 400 million cubic feet is used for domestic consumption. In 2020, the oil and gas production from all projects will start declining. The production will slump in 2020 if new oil and gas reserves are not discovered," he told the event.

The daily gas production from Yetagon had declined from 400 million cubic feet in 2007 to 250 million. Its estimated reserves were reduced from 3 trillion to 2.2 trillion cubic feet. There was no significant change to the gas production, despite Shwe project starting production in 2013. When Zawtika project started operating in 2014, the total production increased, he added.

Shwe could produce 500 million cubic feet of gas a day for 11 years. Zawtika's output is estimated at 350 million cubic feet a day for up to 10 years.

In onshore oil production, the Man site produced at least 24,000 barrels per day in 1980-81 but that has fallen to 7,500 barrels per day.

“We may have good prospects for oil and gas exploration in 16 onshore blocks,” he said.

Newly discovered gas reserves would take at least 10 years to reach commercial production, Than Tun added.

According to the Asian Development Bank (ADB)’s 30-year energy plan, natural gas is the most crucial power supply sector. Between 2012 and 2030, the country’s average energy consumption would increase by 2.9 per cent per year, it said.

In 2009, power consumption of industries was 0.59 per cent; rural households consumed 7.18 per cent and urban areas accounted for 1.1 per cent. By 2030, industrial consumption would increase to 5.7 per cent; rural use would rise to 7.7 per cent and urban residents' use would increase to 1.3 per cent.

The ADB estimated Myanmar’s proved gas reserves at 11.8 trillion cubic feet. The country can also generate up to 100,000 megawatts through hydropower. In the short term, firewood still plays a crucial role. Finding alternatives to firewood in rural areas is crucial for the fight against deforestation and environmental degradation.