Daily News-August 23 - 2001- Thursday

  • Kvaerner pulls out of Burma contract
  • Kværner to upgrade Yetagun platform
  • Smuggling 'unabated'
  • Thai Fisherman Cry Foul
  • Myanmar to field 250-strong team in SEA Games
  • Armed men take Thai hostage into Burma

  • Kvaerner pulls out of Burma contract

    The Norway Post

    The Norwegian company Kvaerner has pulled out of a contract with Premier Petroleum Myanmar Ltd of Burma. The political situation in the country is given as reason for the Kvaerner pull-out.

    Kvaerner's Singapore office first announced the signing of a contract with Premier Petroleum Myanmar for the upgrading of an oil platform.However, as soon as the European leadership were informed of the contract, they ordered the Singapore office to pull out of the deal, NRK reports.

    The contract for upgrading of the Yetagun platform was worth US$ 30 million, around NOK 267 million.Kvaerner had completed the preliminary work for the project in April this year, according to a press release from the company.

    There is no legal Norwegian boycott of Burma, but the Norwegian authorities have urged Norwegian firms to refrain from investing in the country.
    Kværner to upgrade Yetagun platform

    Oil & Gas Journal
    By the OGJ Online Staff

    HOUSTON, Aug. 21 -- Premier Petroleum Myanmar Ltd. awarded the Singapore office of Norwegian company Kværner ASA a contract as part of the upgrade of the Yetagun platform in Myanmar's Gulf of Martaban, said Kværner.

    The 2.92 tcf Yetagun gas-condensate field is 400 km south of Yangon (OGJ Online, Aug. 7, 2000). The project will upgrade the platform to 300 MMscfd of capacity from Oct. 1. Further upgrades are planned, said Kværner.

    Kværner will provide engineering, procurement, and construction management services for the upgrade program, which has a total installed cost of $30 million. Earlier this year, Kværner completed front-end engineering design for this project. During 1998-1999, Kværner's Singapore office performed the detailed engineering for the initial development of the 230 MMscfd production platform.

    Premier Petroleum Myanmar Ltd. is a unit of Premier Oil PLC of the UK. Partners include Malaysian company Petronas, Japan's Nippon Oil Co. and PTT Exploration & Production PLC of Thailand.
    Smuggling 'unabated'

    The Nation
    Published on Aug 22, 2001

    About 700 to 800 million methamphetamine pills are expected to be smuggled into the country in the second half of this year, the National Security Council (NSC) told a Cabinet meeting yesterday.

    Most of the drugs would be for the local market, while the remainder would be destined for other countries, the NSC said. The agency described the drug situation in the first half of the year as "stable," a source said. The number of speed pills smuggled into Thailand in the first half of this year were unavailable.

    Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra proposed yesterday that a meeting of Thai, Chinese, Burmese and Lao leaders should be held shortly after the meeting of foreign ministers from those countries scheduled for later this month. The timing of the summit was aimed at "sending a signal" to government officials in those countries that their leaders were serious about tackling the drug problem, Thaksin said. Foreign ministers from the four countries are scheduled to meet this month in China to discuss intelligence cooperation and suppression of the drug trade.

    Interior Minister Purachai Piumsombun yesterday said the blacklist of police officers allegedly involved in the narcotics trade would soon be forwarded to Thaksin. He said he expected the premier to instruct the national police chief on what action to take against those listed.Legal and disciplinary action would be taken against police with strong evidence against them, Purachai said. If there was no compelling evidence against the accused officers, they would be seconded to inactive positions, he added.

    Methamphetamines, also called yaa baa or "crazy drug", have hooked an estimated 300,000 addicts in Thailand and another 2.7 million "casual users".

    The synthetic stimulant, produced across the border in Burmese territory controlled by the United Wa State Army, is expertly marketed by a nationwide network of Thai pushers to schools, colleges and slums. What worries the government is that the drug has become immensely popular in the past six years with the younger generation, especially teenage boys who account for about 90 per cent of the addicts.
    Thai Fisherman Cry Foul

    By Maung Maung Oo
    source : The Irrawaddy

    August 22, 2001-The details of a new fishing contract that allows Thai-owned fishing vessels to return to Burmese waters have come under heavy criticism from Thai fishermen, according to a source in the southern Thai port city of Ranong, opposite Kawthaung in Burma's Tenassermin Division.

    "Thai fishing companies will be allowed to catch fish in Burmese water, but due to the contract stipulations handed down by the government we will not be able to make any money and even risk losing money," complained a frustrated Thai fisherman in Ranong.

    The new contract, details of which were released on August 17th by Burma's military government, includes nine articles that seek to give the Burmese government greater control over the Thai fishing boats. One article that has come under heavy scrutiny is the Rangoon's demand that all Thai fishing boats must have their catches inspected by Burmese authorities at the newly built Tanintharyi International Fish Market before they will be permitted to return home." It is a waste of time," said a Thai fisherman in Ranong, "and the taxes on our catch will also be doubled."

    Thailand's Coastline Fishery Club, composed of deep-sea fishermen from Thailand, has urged the Thai government to discuss the contract constraints with Sec-1 Lt-Gen Khin Nyunt of Burma's ruling State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) when he visits Thailand next month to discuss bilateral relations between the two countries.

    The Burmese government decided to renew the fishing concessions for Thai vessels after Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and Thai Defense Minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh urged the military's top brass to rethink the temporary suspension during recent visits to Rangoon.

    In late 1999 Burma announced that Thai fishing concessions would be suspended for security reasons after a group of Burmese activists who stormed the Burmese Embassy in Bangkok were allowed to escape to the Thai-Burma border unharmed.

    The Burmese government last year opened the Tanintharyi International Fish Market and deep-sea fishing port in Mergui in southern Burma in a joint venture with Jean Pichon, a former French marine colonel and a leading figure in Rangoon’s foreign business community. Rangoon has also recently allowed some cease-fire groups in Burma to begin fishing in Burmese waters in hopes of generating more hard currency reserves.
    Myanmar to field 250-strong team in SEA Games

    Source : The Times of India

    YANGON, Myanmar: Myanmar is hopeful of extending its medal tally by contesting twice as many events in next month's 21st Southeast Asian Games in Malaysia than it did in the last games two years ago, a top sports official said Tuesday.

    Maung Win, director general of sports and physical education, said Myanmar aimed to surpass its tally of 3 golds, 10 silvers and 10 bronzes won in the 20th SEA Games held in Brunei in 1999."We are sending a bigger contingent and hope to win more medals this year," Maung Win said.

    Myanmar's 252-strong team - comprising 163 males and 89 females -will compete in 24 events in the Kuala Lumpur games to be held Sept. 8-17, compared with the 144 athletes who contested 12 events last time.

    In Brunei, Myanmar won its golds in boat racing, but this time hopes to win at archery, women's weightlifting, taekwando, sepak takraw, judo and shooting, Maung Win said.

    Sepak takraw resembles volleyball played with the feet and is popular in parts of Southeast Asia. Myanmar could also do well at billiards, boxing, volleyball, rowing, sailing and the martial art of wu shu, he said.

    On Monday, Lt. Gen. Khin Nyunt, the third-ranking general in Myanmar's military regime and chairman of the national Olympic committee, urged athletes, coaches and managers to train vigorously and bring back as many gold medals as possible.

    The SEA Games are contested every two years by Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.( AP )
    Armed men take Thai hostage into Burma

    Source : Bangkok Post

    A villager was abducted by four armed men near the Thai-Burmese border in Bang Saphan district on Tuesday and taken into Burma.

    Police said Chaisak sae Fong, from village No 9, tambon Ronthong, was taking his cattle to graze when he was stopped by the men armed with machine-guns, pistols and hand grenades who forced him to take the cattle into Burma.

    A few hours later, they returned to ransack his house. They made off with 1,000 baht in cash and some rice.

    Before leaving they told Mr Chaisak's wife, Wassana, to pay a ransom of 400,000 baht for his release.

    She informed police of the abduction. Police and military authorities yesterday set up a co-ordinating centre and contacted a Burmese military unit to find out which minority group operating in the area was responsible for the abduction.

    There are two minority groups in the area _ the Mon and the Karen.

    Local and border patrol police were sent to all passes along the Thai-Burmese border in Bang Saphan to block the abductors' escape.