The construction of gas and oil pipelines connecting to China from Arakan State in Burma began recently at Madae Island off the Arakan Coast by a number of Chinese engineers, said a female villager from the island.
"60 Chinese engineers from Chinese National Petroleum Corp. arrived at our island in the last few weeks. Now they have started construction of some buildings on the island with 40 local workers," she said.
Madae Island is located ten miles south of Kyaukpru, the second-largest city in Arakan State, and is the main staging territory for a gas pipeline that will connect to Yunnan Province in China.
"They are now constructing some buildings and oil tanks on our island but have not started the gas and oil pipeline. However many large pipes are arriving at our island along with many big machines, including trucks and lorries. I have never seen such machinery before in my life," she said.
Two companies, Daewoo and Asia World, are leading the pipeline project on the island, and have dispatched much modern machinery to the island via the Kyaukpru seaport located on Rambree Island.
The source added, "Some officials from Daewoo and Asia World are working on the project along with Chinese engineers on the island, but we have not had the chance to meet them because the authority has prohibited us from visiting the restricted area where they are staying."
"We heard the mine explosions every day from a rocky mountain where the Chinese engineers are detonating mines to quarry stone to build a seaport and road. Now the Chinese engineers are constructing the bank of the seaport and wharf with the rocks and stone produced from the mountain," she said.
There are two villages, Madae Kyunt Ahet Wra and Madae Out Wra, which are about two miles from the construction site.
50 acres of farmland owned by villagers was recently confiscated by Burmese military authority for construction on the project, with promises of compensation that the villagers have yet to see.
Burma signed a deal with China last March to construct the two pipelines for gas and oil, which will run parallel to each other. The pipelines will start on Madae Island in Kyaukpru Township on the western coast of Burma and enter China at the border city of Ruili in China's Yunnan Province, sources said.
According to sources, the Chinese National Petroleum Corp. will construct the 771-kilometer overland gas pipeline from Arakan State, extending along the Bay of Bengal to Yunnan Province as the first phase of the project.
On 31 October, CNPC began construction on the wharf seaport in Madae Kyunt as the first step in the pipeline project.
China hopes to build the overland pipeline in order to supply natural gas from Arakan's offshore fields direct to its southern province of Yunnan, with a planned delivery output of 12 million tons.
The oil pipeline will eventually transfer 20 million tons of crude oil to China from the Middle East and Africa annually. The natural gas pipeline will be extended by an additional 1,700 kilometers from Yunnan to Guizhou and Guangxi Zhuang Provinces, moving 12 billion cubic meters of gas, according to an official report.
6 months ago