Myanmar Approves Energy Investments

LNG Power Plant Centerpiece of US$2.8 Billion Plan

Myanmar's military rulers have approved new investment in projects worth nearly US$2.8 billion, including a US$2.5 billion liquefied natural gas, or LNG, power plant, the country's investment body said.

The Myanmar Investment Commission approved 15 projects, according to a statement on the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration website, according to media partner Medi Telegraph.

The announcement came with much of Myanmar's economy paralyzed by protests and strikes since the army seized power on Feb. 1. Research firm Fitch Solutions has forecast the economy will contract by 20 percent this year. In addition to the plant to generate power for local needs, other projects approved included for livestock, manufacturing and services sectors, the statement said.

It did not give details of the companies behind the projects or which countries they are from. The biggest investors in Myanmar in recent years have been China, Singapore and Thailand, although much of the investment from Singapore has been channeled from elsewhere.

Most of Myanmar's electric power is generated from hydroelectric projects, but LNG has been seen as increasingly important for a country whose economy had boomed during a decade of democratic reforms, leading to erratic electricity supplies.