Woodside Halts Some Activity in Myanmar After Coup


February 2, 2021

Australia's Woodside Petroleum has put some activity on hold in Myanmar after generals seized power and detained elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi, and said on Tuesday it was monitoring the changing situation in the country.

Woodside has been working with French giant Total SA and Myanmar-based MPRL E&P to develop Myanmar's first ultra-deepwater gas project, known as A-6. The Australian firm said in January it had started a three-well drilling campaign in a block next to A-6 and in acreage where it hopes to develop a northern hub.

"Access to some infrastructure is limited and as a result we have postponed some logistical activities while we await further clarity," a Woodside spokeswoman said in emailed comments on Tuesday.

The company declined to provide any other details on what activities were on hold, what infrastructure was affected and what was curtailing access to it.

As Woodside reviews the impact of the coup, the threat of sanctions hangs over Myanmar: the United States threatened to reimpose trade curbs lifted over the last decade after the military took control on Monday.

"We continue to monitor the evolving situation regarding the government of Myanmar," the Woodside spokeswoman said.

Woodside says on its website that since 2014 it has invested more than $400 million in Myanmar.

The company has fewer than 100 direct employees and dependents in Myanmar, some of whom are expatriates.

"Communications are fully operational and our people are accounted for, safe and well," the spokeswoman said.

The A-6 gas development is one of Woodside's medium-term growth projects, with a plan to pipe gas from the ultra-deep water field onshore to Myanmar and Thailand.

"The commercial side of progress had already been dragging on as it is," Credit Suisse analyst Saul Kavonic said in a note. "It may be premature to determine impact here, but clearly there is a risk of further delay to developments."

(Reporting by Sonali Paul; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)

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