Saturday, February 20, 2010

India to Invest in Chinese Pipeline in Arakan


By Takaloo, Dhaka: India's Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, CCEA, has approved ONGC Videsh Ltd., and GAIL Ltd. to acquire a 12.53 percent stake in the China pipeline project, with an additional investment of over one billion USD in the development of offshore gas fields in western Burma's Arakan State, it was announced in a press release on Thursday.

The CCEA will allow ONGC's overseas arm, OVL, to invest $167.84 million to acquire a 8.35 percent stake and GAIL Ltd. to invest $83.88 million for a 4.17 percent stake in the pipeline that is being built by China National Petroleum Corporation to move natural gas from Blocks A-1 and A-3 off the Arakan Coast to China.

CNPC is building the 2.01 billion dollar pipeline to ship gas from these blocks, where South Korea's Daewoo holds a 51 percent stake, OVL holds a 17 percent stake, and GAIL and Korea Gas Corporation hold 8.5 percent each. Burma's MOGE holds the remaining 15 percent.

Gas from the blocks will be sold to China for $7.72 per British thermal unit at the landfall point in Burma, report Indian officials.

The CCEA also approved additional investments of $664.7 million by OVL and $361.39 million by GAIL in the Upstream Development Project for the blocks.

Arakanese people, in contrast, are facing losses of their property and livelihoods for the projects that governments and consortiums are investing billions of dollars in to exploit Arakan's gas and oil reserves.

According to sources in Arakan, the Burmese military regime recently confiscated four villages along with farmlands owned by villagers on Madae Island in Arakan's Kyaukpru District, in order to construct the pipeline that will take Arakan's gas to China's Yunnan Province. The villagers are now homeless and living in makeshift tents, while many more villagers are facing the threat of having their land confiscated by the authorities.

Ref: Narinjara


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