A delegation of Scottish companies is heading to Myanmar this week in an effort to tap into opportunities in the country’s oil and gas sector.

The visit comes after Myanmar opened up to international trade and investment following decades of military rule.

The delegation includes temporary power company Aggreko and oil and gas firms Wood Group, Asco and Bibby Offshore.

Meanwhile, Scottish Secretary David Mundell is in Texas to try to boost support for the North Sea oil sector.

The UK government minister said he was flying to the US to build links with the country’s oil industry.

‘Historic connections’

The Myanmar delegation is being led by Scottish Enterprise chief executive Lena Wilson.

Ms Wilson also chairs Scotland’s Energy Jobs Taskforce, set up last year by the Scottish government to help tackle the challenges facing the sector following the sustained fall in oil prices.

The delegation will meet Myanmar’s new minister for energy and electricity, Pe Zin Tun, as well as local and international oil and gas companies already active in the country to “explore key opportunities in the local supply chain”.

Scottish Enterprise said Myanmar had vast underdeveloped oil and gas reserves in deep waters similar to that of the North Sea.

According to the economic development agency, the Myanmar government is also keen to develop its own oil and gas industry and wants to capitalise on foreign investment and technology to build local capacity and expertise.

‘Exciting phase’

Ms Wilson said: “Scotland and Myanmar have strong historic connections going right back to the 19th century when Scottish owned Burmah Oil Company became the first company to drill for oil in the country in 1886.

“Myanmar now stands at exciting phase of its own oil and gas development – much like Aberdeen did in the 1970s – with huge natural resources to capitalise on.

“But to grow its local industry, it will need access to technology, skills and expertise across the whole supply chain from seismic surveying and engineering design right through to project management, health and safety and training and education.

“These are all core strengths of Scotland’s oil and gas industry built up through 50 years of experience of working in the North Sea.

“We have a real opportunity now to show how Scotland can help support Myanmar to build the capacity it needs while at the same time providing much needed international opportunities for our own industry.”

The trade mission follows a visit by a Myanmar delegation to Offshore Europe in Aberdeen last year, which visited a number of Scottish companies including Wood Group in Aberdeen and ASCO’s supply base in Peterhead.

Following the visit to Myanmar, Ms Wilson will then travel to Vietnam along with some of the Scottish companies to identify potential opportunities in what is seen as a more established oil and gas market which is still relatively untapped by Scottish companies.

During his trip to the US, Mr Mundell will meet senior figures in the oil centres of Houston and Dallas to encourage ongoing investment into the North Sea.

The talks will involve firms such as Maersk, BP and the Weir Group, he will also seek to find new ways in which Scottish companies could export their expertise in the industry.

Mr Mundell said: “The UK government is determined to do everything it can to support the industry and the many jobs which depend on it.

“My visit to the United States is part of that strategy.”

“The north east of Scotland also has a huge amount of expertise which can be exported around the world and the US should be a part of its market.”

He added: “There are wider lessons for the north east of Scotland to learn from the American oil and gas industry, and from cities like Dallas and Houston.

“They have successfully diversified their economies, and I will be hearing from officials in those cities about the lessons they have learned and we could apply them in Scotland.”

View original article here by BBC News