Published On: Sun, Aug 5th, 2012

Shwe natural gas mainly for power generation

Due to Myanmar’s serious power shortage, natural gas from the Shwe block will be used mainly for generating electricity for home consumption, according to a source in the Ministry of Energy.

Only the surplus gas will be diverted for distribution to gas-fuelled vehicles, the source said.

The natural gas from Shwe gas block, situated north of the Bay of Bengal and west of Rakhine State, will be mostly destined for home consumption in the 2013-2014 fiscal year. The gas will be piped to cement industrial units, coal factories, and natural gas-powered generating plants to mainly produce electricity for domestic use.

Energy Minister U Than Htay told Parliament recently that the ongoing exploration of oil and natural gas at three offshore areas in the Rakhine State, the Mottama Gulf, and the Taninthayi Region is intended solely for local consumption.

Shwe natural gas block is estimated to have 4.5 trillion to 7.7 trillion cubic feet of deposit, with a daily production capacity of about 500 million cubic feet.

Currently, the Tee-kyit coal plant and 15 other natural gas-fed power plants are producing 714 megawatts of electricity. A total of 27,472 vehicles run on natural gas.

However, operation at five power plants has been suspended for the last five years due to unavailability of natural gas. Four of the plants are in Kyunchaung Township and Minbu Township of Magway Region, the last one in Shwetaung Township of Bago Region. When these plants resume operation, 69 megawatts of power is expected to be released into the main power grid. There is a daily demand for 24 million cubic feet of onshore gas and 11 million cubic feet of offshore gas.

The Ministry of Energy supplies natural gas-fed power generators with 200 million cubic feet of gas every day, to ensure there is no disruption.

Vehicles running on natural gas rely on 45 CNG stations. An estimated 600 million cubic feet of natural gas is conveyed mainly from the onshore blocks of Nyaungdon, Ahphyauk, Yenanchaung, Chauk, Thargyitaung and Letpanto in the delta area and the central Myanmar region.

With a shortage of natural gas for cars, fuel-conversion kits that allow petrol-fuelled vehicles to run on natural gas have been unavailable since 2008. This has led to illegal conversion of equipment for gas-fed vehicles. In response, the Ministry of Energy has laid out a plan to resume sale of fuel-conversion kits for CNG-fuelled cars starting in 2013.

The Ministry of Energy source said, “Car fuel conversion is not a priority. Natural gas from the Shwe gas block is mainly intended for cement, coal and power generating plants. The cars will be supplied when there is surplus gas.”

Source: Eleven Myanmar

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