Man Aung: The Burmese military authority has seized many traditional hand-dug oil wells owned by locals in Man Aung Township in Arakan State for the Asia World Company, which won concessions to explore for oil and gas in the area, said an owner of one oil well.
"The oil wells were confiscated by Man Aung Township authority on the high authority's instruction. Local villagers have lost over 100 hand-drilled oil wells in the confiscation. The authority confiscated the wells for Asia World Company, but has not given any compensation," he said.
The confiscated oil wells are located in the villages of Bu Daung Kwe, Nga Pa Gon, Min Site, Pyin, Inn Sanay, and Naga in Man Aung Township.
"As far as I know, 28 oil wells from Bu Daung Kwe, 22 oil wells from Nga Pa Gon, 30 oil wells from Min Site Pyin, 18 wells from Inn Sanay, and 20 oil wells from Naga Village have been confiscated. Over 100 hand-drilled wells in total were confiscated," he said.
The confiscation began on 1 December 2009, and authorities are still seizing oil wells located on lands near the site that is to be explored.
"Township Mayaka Secretary Aung Htin Lin and some officials from Asia World Company came to our village to do the confiscation of locally-owned oil wells. They also brought a notification letter signed by Township Chairman Nyi Nyi Lwin to show us," he added.
After the confiscation, many villagers lost their sole livelihood, and some workers in the area left to look for jobs elsewhere.
According to a local source, local people have been producing crude oil from the wells using traditional drilling methods for an unknown number of generations. They sold the oil in local markets after refining the crude oil themselves. This was often their sole source of income and means of survival.
Asia World Company, owned by Tun Mying Naing, son of drug-lord Lo Hsing Han, is now preparing to explore for oil using heavy machinery in the area.
The military authority also confiscated many traditional oil wells in Kyauk Pru Township on Rambree Island in Arakan for the benefit of China National Offshore Oil Company last month.
6 months ago