New Mandala readers interested in the development of natural-gas fields off the coast of Burma will be interested in The Economist’s neat article which summarises the current state of politicking and negotiation.

It notes (in part) that:

China has offered to build a pipeline from Myanmar’s A-1 and A-3 gasfields in the Bay of Bengal to the Chinese border, a distance of around 900 km…Although Myanmar accepted China’s pipeline bid rather than the proposals of India and South Korea, companies from the latter two countries already jointly own the rights to develop the fields…

Politically, Myanmar’s prolific energy resources, and its decision to give China access to them, are likely to complicate Western efforts to encourage political reform in Myanmar. Myanmar’s energy-hungry neighbours, especially China, India and Thailand, will continue to prioritise their own energy security above any effort to encourage democratisation in Myanmar. Competition between them for access to Myanmar’s substantial energy resources weakens the impact of US and EU sanctions designed to put pressure on Myanmar’s military rulers.

Thanks to long-time New Mandala reader and Asia specialist, Paul, for drawing my attention to this very useful article.