Friday, June 11, 2010

China’s Wen Jiabo visits Myanmar, marks start of pipelines build

NAYPYITAW, Myanmar - Prime Minister Wen Jiabo of China visited Myanmar on June 2-3 to participate in celebrations to mark the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
During the visit, which was confined Naypyitaw, the new capital, with a stop in Yangon, he met Senior General Than Shwe, chairman of the State Peace and Development Council of Myanmar and Prime Minister U Thein Sein. While in Myanmar, he and U Thein Sein observed the formal launching of the construction of the Myanmar-China oil and natural gas pipeline project. Even though the two pipelines will not pass through the capital, the launching was observed there.
Wen did not go to the Arakan area where construction has begun. There is local opposition to the pipelines in the Arakan area, and the two governments apparently did not want to take the risk of having the function become the target of a protest.
The China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC), the country's largest oil and gas producer and supplier, said on its Web site on June 4 that work had started on construction of two oil and gas pipelines between China and Myanmar. The Southeast Asia Pipeline Co., one of SNPC’s affiliates, has been put in charge of the design, construction, operation and maintenance of the pipelines. As a controlling shareholder, the Southeast Asia Pipeline Co. signed an agreement with the Myanmar National Oil and Gas Co. on June 3 at Naypyitaw. The gas and oil pipelines are both expected to run from the Kyaukpyu port on Myanmar's west coast and enter China at Ruili, Yunnan Province. The oil pipeline will have a designed transport capacity of 22 million tons per year, while the natural gas pipeline is designed to transport 12 billion cubic meters annually.

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