Yangon/Beijing: The ambitious ‘Myanmar-China’ oil pipeline which should reduce the risk for China while importing oil by sea route went operational on Monday. The final agreement on this was signed during Myanmar’s President Htin Kyaw’s visit to China. As sources inform, a few hours after signing the agreement, the supply of crude oil to the pipeline started. This pipeline nearly 770 kilometer in length has the capacity to supply 6 percent of China’s oil import requirement.
The Myanmar-China oil pipeline is said to be a part of China’s ambitious “One Belt, One Road” and “Two-Ocean strategy”. It is the Chinese President Xi Jinping‘s strategy to connect China to Asia, Africa and the European Continent and increase trade and bilateral collaborations through the ambitious “One Belt, One Road” project. This is considered to be an important phase to increase Chinese influence at an international level.
Through the “Two-Ocean strategy”, China is trying to develop new trade routes in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. The main purpose behind this is to reduce the dependence on the ‘Strait of Malacca’ for trade carried through the sea route. It is being observed that through Myanmar-China pipeline, the oil directly enters China through the Indian Ocean, saving the round to the Strait of Malacca. Hence the Myanmar-China pipeline proves important to China for maritime purpose also.
Although Myanmar has been considered a traditional ally of China, the Chinese interests have received a rude shock after the military rule in Myanmar has wound up. In Myanmar’s current political situation, the position of Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi has become important. Although Suu Kyi has paid a visit to China, the relations between Myanmar’s democratic rule and China appear somewhat stressful. Some of the projects started by China in Myanmar have been kept on hold by the present democratic rule. In this background, the ambitious project like the oil pipeline could prove to be an important step in the relationship between the two countries.
The oil pipeline which starts from the ‘Made Island’ in Myanmar will end at the Yunan province in China. Through this oil pipeline of 771 kilometer in length almost 4 lakhs 42 thousand barrels of crude oil would be supplied every day. As per information received from China, Myanmar would be annually provided with about 2 million tons of crude oil from this pipeline. All the rights of the ‘Myanmar-China oil pipeline’ would be entrusted to China’s ‘PetroChina’ company.
China has set up two oil pipelines in Myanmar, of which the pipeline supplying natural gas is already operational. From this pipeline about 12 billion cubic meters of natural gas is supplied annually.
Analysts claim, that although the oil pipeline has been successful in its operations, it will have no impact on the other Chinese projects which are stuck in Myanmar. As yet, the work on one dam and a mine, projects which were proposed by China in Myanmar, have been delayed as there seems to be a large scale opposition to these from the citizens.