Did you Know? Locals Drill for Oil by Hand in Myanmar!

Did you Know? Locals Drill for Oil by Hand in Myanmar!

by 8th July 2014

Thousands seize chance to profit from abandoned wells in spirit of enterprise denied under former military regime
The men climb atop the barrels and pour in the oil bucket by bucket, then roll the filled barrels up a ridge and into the back of a truck. All around them, thousands of workers are doing the same – digging for oil, drilling for oil, collecting the oil, and selling it off to local refineries – in unregulated, artisanal pits which they claim can fetch up to 300 barrels of crude oil a day, worth $3,000 (£2,000) at local market prices.
Independence – all denied under the military regime that ruled the country for nearly 50 years. Oil was first discovered by the British in the 19th century, but the wells were abandoned, and now it is the enterprising locals who have tapped into this plentiful resource – some of whom claim to have earned millions of dollars doing so.
Here in Thayet, a township caked in dust about seven hours north of Rangoon, the oil rush began in 1989 after a farmer found crude near his land.

And just a few hours away, roughly 20,000 drillers dig for crude at Su Win, and another 10,000 are in the neighboring Khing Taung village.

Prospecting is a costly gamble. Land costs about $4,000 an acre, drills are $2,000, and permits – whose prices vary – must be purchased from the local refineries. Most drillers pool their resources and their profits.

The opportunities for wealth may be great, but there are no health and safety rules here, no environmental protection, no employee regulations.

Work continues 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and fires are a common hazard.

“There are oil fields to the left and right all along the Irrawaddy river, and still so many basins all over [Burma] that we haven’t explored or developed yet – but the problem is that there is no good estimate of how much oil is in place,” says oil and gas expert KK Hlaing of Smart Technical Services, which helps local and international companies drill for oil. “There are around 14 basins in [Burma] but only three or four have been properly commercialised.”

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Source by: พาเที่ยวพม่า พม่าพาเที่ยว