There are also plans to launch a tender for at least one onshore block before the end of 2018.
If everything goes according to plan, the MoEE’s Department of Oil and Gas Planning will offer 18 onshore and 13 offshore blocks.
The bids are aimed at revitalising Myanmar’s energy sector, which has seen activity slow down in recent years. The last round of exploration and production (E&P) tenders were held under the former government in 2014.
However, of the 31 blocks the MoEE intends to offer–16 have been awarded in previous tender rounds– and the winning bidders subsequently relinquished their exploration rights.
Preliminary testing was conducted on some of the blocks that were handed back by former leaseholders, which may raise doubts over their commercial viability.
A lack of E&P opportunities in recent years, along with the departure of a number of international energy companies from the local market, has been a major contributor to declining foreign direct investment (FDI).
In FY 2017/18 the total value of FDI fell from $6.65bn to $5.72bn, according to the Myanmar Investment Commission.
Nonetheless, recent discoveries in the upstream energy segment have brought new opportunities in the country’s offshore fields to the fore.
On September 22, the French-headquartered multinational energy company Total reported encouraging results from preliminary testing at the offshore Shwe Yee Htun-2 field, located approximately 100 km north-east of Pathein township.
Initial appraisal of the find indicated there being significant natural gas reserves of commercial viability.
Since gas was found in each of the five appraisal wells, further testing on the block has been commissioned to determine the extent of the deposit, according to officials.
The Shwe Yee Htun-2 field is part of the larger A6 block that has estimated reserves of up to 3trn cu feet, according to a statement by Total.
Myanmar has 53 onshore and 51 offshore blocks that have been identified as having commercially extractable reserves, and activity is currently under way at 35 onshore and 38 offshore blocks.