Puma Energy opens $92m Thilawa oil and gas terminal


YANGON — An oil company backed by global commodities giant Trafigura has opened a $92 million oil and gas terminal in Yangon to cash in on growing energy demand.

The terminal is expected to increase energy imports after a disappointing decline in foreign investment over the last year.

Built by Puma Energy and its local partner Asia Sun, the terminal officially opened for business over the weekend at the port of Thilwa outside Yangon.

Puma Energy Asia Sun general manager David Holden said it would cut import costs on products ranging from jet fuel to petrol and bitumen, used to make roads.

Support more independent journalism like this. Sign up to be a Frontier member.

“Myanmar is where the need is and Myanmar is what drove the investment,” he told AFP on Monday, estimating fuel demand may grow around five percent annually in coming years.

Foreign investment in Myanmar initially surged as the country began overhauling its economy after almost half a century of military rule ended in 2011. 

But a lack of clarity on the new government’s economic policies and a backlog of approvals contributed to a 30 percent slump in investment in the financial year through March.

The biggest fall was in the oil and gas sector, which is controlled by state-owned Myanma Oil & Gas Enterprise.

But last month China launched a crude oil pipeline linking its southeastern province of Yunnan to the Bay of Bengal on Myanmar’s west coast, after years of delays.

Beijing, which helped shield Myanmar’s former junta from international sanctions, has led the way in the race to exploit the country’s lucrative energy and gem reserves.

Puma Energy, headquartered in Singapore, is one of three foreign firms in the final round of bidding to run part of Myanmar’s petrol distribution market along with the Ministry of Energy.

It also wants a licence to operate petrol stations and supply them independently after new investment laws loosened restrictions for foreign companies.

Holden said the company would focus on the corridor between Yangon and Mandalay, where he estimated retail sales could reach some 1.5 billion litres of fuel a year.

More stories

Latest Issue

Stories in this issue
Myanmar enters 2021 with more friends than foes
The early delivery of vaccines is one of the many boons of the country’s geopolitics, but to really take advantage, Myanmar must bury the legacy of its isolationist past.
Will the Kayin BGF go quietly?
The Kayin State Border Guard Force has come under intense pressure from the Tatmadaw over its extensive, controversial business interests and there’s concern the ultimatum could trigger fresh hostilities in one of the country’s most war-torn areas.

Support our independent journalism and get exclusive behind-the-scenes content and analysis

Stay on top of Myanmar current affairs with our Daily Briefing and Media Monitor newsletters.

Sign up for our Frontier Fridays newsletter. It’s a free weekly round-up featuring the most important events shaping Myanmar