KUALA LUMPUR, 9th SEPTEMBER 2014 – In March 2014 Myanmar provisionally awarded 20 offshore oil exploration blocks to a number of national and international companies. Myanmar is emerging from decades of isolation and in order to assist with sustainable development of the country consultants from Asian Geos and their global partner Gardline, flew out to Nay Pyi Taw (Myanmar’s capital) in April 2014 to participate in a knowledge-exchange event with key government officials engaged with the offshore licensing.
Paul Salmon from Gardline presented on best practice methods for marine Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) whilst Andy Campbell from Asian Geos and Gardline presented on International Standards of Marine Environmental Sampling. The seminar was attended by 25 staff from Myanmar’s Ministry of Energy (MOE) and the Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry (MOECAF). Further informal discussions on marine protection and management were also undertaken with Directors and Assistant Directors of MOE and MOECAF.
The event, impeccably organised by Asian Geos’ local partner SMART Technical Services, helped inform officials, who will be tasked with permitting and working alongside the oil development companies, on key environmental and social issues that may arise through exploration and production activities. Additional information relating to measures that can be undertaken to reduce predicted adverse effects and international best practice for Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) and associated standards was also part of the overall presentations.
Paul explained, “As part of the permitting process for offshore oil each developer will be required to undertake an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment in order to ensure that as well as bringing about economic benefits, each developer takes full account of social and environmental considerations.
Myanmar has a biologically rich and diverse marine environment which includes mangroves, seagrass beds, estuaries and mudflats as well as coral reefs and pristine beaches. Offshore development has the potential to affect these natural resources unless high quality, robust impact assessments underpinned by high quality surveys and free, prior and informed local consultations are undertaken. Imparting knowledge to the Myanmar government on how such assessments are undertaken around the world, so that they can subsume relevant aspects in to their thinking, will help conserve key aspects of the environment, assist with sustainable development and ensure that high quality offshore projects result.
Asian Geos and Gardline are extremely pleased to be able to use our knowledge and experience of marine impact assessment to assist MOGE and MOECAF progress sustainable development of Myanmar’s marine space as it opens up to foreign investment.”