By Khin Yadanar and Zin Oo
Photo by Tun Minn Latt (MOEE)
Fulfilling the needs of the country, the Ministry of Electricity and Energy has been working at the best in providing electricity for enough consumption, and also finding out ways and means for strengthening the nation’s economy by extracting natural resources.
At a time when the incumbent government has crossed the timeline of fourth year journey, the interviews are made with the deputy ministers namely Dr. Tun Naing and U Khin Maung Win on the achievement with regard to the interest of the people carried out by the Ministry of Electricity and Energy.
Dr. Tun Naing,
Ministry of Electricity and Energy
Question: Kindly explain the fourth year performances and the development of energy sector being carried out by the Ministry of Electricity and Energy.
Answer: As some of the laws related to energy sector of Myanmar were outdated with modern times, new laws are enacted.
The Petroleum and Petroleum Products Law (the “PPPL”) 2017 was enacted by Pyidaungsu Htuttaw as Pyidaungsu Htuttaw Law No. 20/2017 on 1st August 2017 to repeal the Petroleum Act 1934. The PPPL contains the provisions on import and export, transportation, storage, refinery, distribution, inspection and testing of petroleum and petroleum products and issuance of relevant licences.
The relevant bye-laws have been drafted and referred to the Office of the Attorney General Union. Moreover, draft law in connection with oil and gas exploration has been referred to the Pyithu Hluttaw.
Q: Please tell us with regard to the exploration blocks and the investment situation in energy sector.
A: We have (53) onshore blocks and (51) offshore blocks, totaling (104) blocks. A total of (25) onshore blocks and (31) offshore blocks are operating under foreign investment. The foreign companies are doing fine in their business under the signed agreements.
During 2016 – 2017 the foreign firms namely the POSCO and the Woodside working in Block AD – 7 have found natural gas. Again in 2017 – 2018, the firms namely the Woodside, the Total and Myanmar Company MPRL jointly working in Block A – 6 have found natural gas. In 2018 – 2019, the companies namely the Woodside, the Total and MPRL working in Block A – 6 have found natural gas. The good news is that in 2019 – 2020, the POSCO working in Block A – 3 has struck natural gas.
The earlier findings of oil and gas in the Yedagun Block, the Gold Petrol Block and exploration by MPRL are accelerating the production tasks year by year. Each year a total of over four million crude oil barrels (US barrels) have been extracted.
Natural gas extraction is being made at the Yadanar, the Ye Dagun, the Shwe, and the Zaw Tika offshore blocks as well as onshore drilling blocks.
Yearly extraction is elevated to cubic feet in million (670,362) from earlier (600,000). In addition to exploration and extraction, the construction of pipeline is underway through the investment plan.
Currently, more crude oil tankers have been deployed. The year 2017 – 2018 saw (35) crude oil tankers made different destinations, and this year it is expected (43) crude oil tankers would be deployed. In other word, the energy sector has generated revenues for the state.
Q: Tell us about natural gas exploration.
A: Natural gas is being explored and extracted from offshore areas as well as onshore blocks. The natural gas is distributed to the industrial sectors in the country. The new pipeline construction is being done every year. The old pipelines are being renovated and repaired. The yearly repair and expansion in the past was (35) miles, and that the renovation and expansion is being carried out for (70) miles.
For the convenience of the people, more extraction is being made yearly on the gasoline, the diesel oil, the aircraft fuel, and the petroleum-based charcoal.
Natural gas is being used at the kitchens of households and at hotels, kitchen areas. The state owned factories produced the natural gas, which is being managed to ensure yearly progress.
Natural gas is mainly used at the electricity generating sector. It is also used at the petroleum refinery. The LGP is being used in liquid form, and it is instrumental in producing chemical fertilizers.
The transportation sector also used CNG as their fuel, while other industrial sectors also used CNG.
In the past, the electricity generation sector has consumed (85) per cent, and now the said sector is using (90) per cent. The second highest consumer of CNG is the transport sector, and the third-highest consumer is chemical production sector.
The main reason for supplementing CNG is for the convenience of commuters with the lesser cost of travel expenses. The CNG distribution is on the rise.
Q: Please tell us bout the relaxation of the ministry for the development of private sector.
A: In the energy sector, the state owned businesses have been slowed down, but the private sector investment has been accelerated. We have allowed more work licences in the gasoline and fuel business. The work is carried out in the whole country, and now we have more than (2,700) gas shops. While we are giving out work licences, we also check the quality of products as well as right measurement. Those who breach the regulation are to be taken action, so that the public could be benefitted. Businesses without proper licenses are to be taken legal action.
Shops dealing with LPG are permitted to do business. There are seven types of usinesses such as the import through tankers, storage and distribution. We are trying to issue more permission.
Q: Please explain the traditional hand dug oil industry.
A: In our country, we have traditional hand-dug oil industry. As they are building mini oil refineries in local areas, we provided them with permissions. The number is on the rise. As they are using traditional refining methods, we need to regulate them with regards to environmental conservation. We advocate and encourage mini refinery methods through the private sector.
Scrutiny has been conducted over the proposals, and that the qualified refinery will roll out for test run soon.
Q: Please explain with regards to CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) in the context of private sectors.
A: The energy sector is extracting natural resources from the earth for the greater good of the nation. It may be termed as doing business for profit, but at the same time accountability and responsibility has to be taken into consideration over the socio-economic welfare of the local people.
In the past, the Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE) is no responsibility in the context of CSR and there was no budget allocation. Now, more CSR are on the agenda covering nine regions and states. The inbound foreign firms doing business on foreign investment have been advised to keep budget for CSR. Solar Power Plant Project has been successfully launched in Manaung Kyun in Rakhine State for generating electricity.
Q: Please explain the outstanding achievement during the incumbent government.
A: The ministry is undertaking fertilizer production industry as it covers important changes during the incumbent government. In the past, fertilizers industry sustained heavy loss every year. The volume of production was falling. We could reverse the situation by producing more in production.
Moreover, Myaung Dakar Factory and Kan Gyi Daunt Factory were losing MMK 25 billion each year in the past, and now we could manage more production with more income each year.
With regard to aircraft fuel, it was distributed by the department in the past, but due to many reasonable and sensible reasons in our country, the quality control of aircraft fuel has become more critical. Moreover, we need more foreign airlines in the country. Therefore, we worked on joint venture framework in this matter. The work programme went well, and the nation reaped revenue.
Our officers and staff members have been assigned as chemical engineers at the Laboratories at Thanlyin Oil Refinery on some research projects. Through the recycle project, the old discarded oil coming from the transformers could be re-used as high combustible fuel. More research projects are on the agenda.
Q: Tell us more about the income of the energy sector for the knowledge of the people.
A: Companies are being managed to fulfill the tax and revenue. Therefore, the companies namely Yadanar, Yedagyn Za Ti Ka, and Shwe have fulfilled their obligation with foreign currency as well as in MMK. Therefore, the country received deserving revenue.
The Ministry of Electricity and Energy has three main tasks. The first one is oil and natural gas — related task. The second task is the petroleum and petroleum products trading business. The third task is petro-chemical related business. In 2019 – 2020 it is expected to earned MMK in million (1,240,000).
Q: Kindly tell us the development plan of the energy sector in the future.
A: Chemical fertilizers are an essential part that related with the public. Our factories are producing chemical fertilizers with (40) per cent nitrogen content. Our fertilizers are better in quality compared to other fertilizers. We have managed not to have a negative impact on soil fertility. The suspended chemical fertilizer factories will be repaired for functioning for the benefit of the local farmers.
In connection with the LPG sector, more emphasis is given for its efficacy in household use and also in transport sector. More options are on the agenda for the private sector with regards to the LPG. In the energy sector, advanced plans are being laid down for the advantage of the country. The vacant blocks at the onshore areas, as well as offshore areas, would be managed with transparency with a view to inviting foreign investment for the greater good of the nation.
U Khin Maung Win,
Ministry of Electricity and Energy
Q: We have witnessed the improvement of electricity sector during the fourth year of the incumbent government. Please explain the working plan over the policy.
A: The state policy has laid down to enhance the social standard of the people through better transportation and adequate electricity generation. We are giving priority in these sectors. This year, we could give more focus on electricity generation.
In line with the government directives, we worked on the construction of electricity generation plants, the connection of more power lines for adequate power supply for the public and the industrial sector. In December 2019, it is our pleasure and honour that the ministry can increase its nationwide power distribution to 50 per cent of the country.
Q: Tell us about the expansion plan for the future in electricity production.
A: We have set a target at 55 per cent in 2021 in the whole country. During 2025 – 2026, we targeted 75 per cent; and 100 per cent in the year 2030.
During the time frame of April 2016 to December 2019, we have generated 904 Megawatt of electricity from ten plants such as (3) hydro-power generating plants; (6) thermoelectric generator plants; and one solar energy powered plant for generating electricity.
In the states and the regions of the country, there are many KV distribution lines with substations that have been installed such as that of 230 KV; 132 KV; 66 KV; 33 KV; 11 KV; and 0.4 KV, totaling (62,692) miles.
As the distribution of power supply lines are expanded, the necessary substations are also constructed with a capacity of 230KV; 132KV; 66KV; 33KV; 11 KV; 6.6KV with the capability of (37,732) MVA. In other words, the MVA clarifies as Mega Volt Amp or Volts X Amp /1000, 000.
Q: Kindly share us with the electricity consumption in remote areas.
A: One of our main priorities is to provide electricity in the remote areas. Through the off-grid distribution system, we have provided electricity to Maungdaw in Rakhine State; Myawady and Kyar Inn Seikyi in Kayin State; Pan Saung and Nann Wun in Kachin State. We are using resources such as mini hydro power and solar power system in generating electricity.
With the use of natural resources, we could provide electricity for (34) villages in Kachin State including Putao and Ma Chan Baw; and also provided power for five local wards and three villages in Manaung Kyun in Rakhine State in 2019.
With regard to the National Electrification Project (NEP) of Myanmar, it is divided into Phase (I) and Phase (II). Phase (I) covers (5080) villages with (620,000) households targeted with electricity supply in September 2020. Phase (II) covers (4700) villages with (530,000) households who could enjoy electricity. At the completion of NEP (I), millions of households could enjoy electricity by the end of September 2021.
NEP (II) would commence in September 2021 covering (8,000) villages with (700,000) households, with the assistance from the World Bank through implementation of National Electrification Plan by expansion of power supply lines and the construction of substations.
Medium voltage electric power supply lines would be expanded with the assistance of ADB; JICA (Japan); and KFW (Germany).
Street lights in Mandalay and street lights in Yangon have been repaired and replaced by using MMK in millions. More power substations are being constructed, and by using modern equipment a National Control Centre has been constructed in Nay Pyi Taw.
Q: In the upcoming long hot summer, what are the plans you have in hand.
A: We are planning in advance for the coming summer. We have seven projects to produce electricity through natural gas and LNG such as Kyun Chaung; Ahlon; Kyauk phu; Thanlyin; ThaKayta; Magway; and Shwe Daung with the capacity of (1166) Megawatt.
Q: Kindly explain how you inspired for better services.
A: The convenience payment by the consumer and to cater satisfaction to the people in the consumption of electricity is very much vital. Therefore, the people must be free from suspicion and mistrust over the actual consumption of electricity. With a view to avoiding misinterpretation, the call centres are being opened. Call centre for Yangon is number (1717) and Mandalay call centre number (1616). Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) system would be used in this connection. Moreover, Automatic Meter Reading System (AMRS) and the prepaid system are to be widely used.
With the improved system, the consumers could safely check one owns electricity consumption through their mobile phones. Moreover, a mobile billing system has been arranged for the public.
Q: Kindly tell us the planned programme and expected goals.
A: In the fourth year implementation, we try our best in offering to the people such as that of stable electricity transmission; that of providing full capacity of electricity; that of the use of electricity with faith and confidence; that of trust and reliance over the units and the billings. The transformers and distribution lines are being renovated for the convenience of the consumers.
AMI system is in use through the mobile phone system at four townships with successful results. People are satisfied with the new system and are happy during the fourth year performance of incumbent government.
The Ministry of Electricity and Energy is trying its best to gain trust of the people, and at the same time renovating the generating plants. Moreover, the supply lines are systematically managed and the distribution is making to gain confidence of the public. As all the dealing with the public is vital, the necessary modification, the reformation, and the timely solution are being made for the sake of the people. Translated by UMT (Ahlon)