Politica energetica: la Cina punta anche sul Bangladesh – Articolo di William Boot
la recente notizia, apparsa su The Irrawaddy
, dell’interesse della China National
(CNPC), gigante petrolifero statale cinese che in gran
parte controlla il gas birmano, verso i potenziali giacimenti a largo della
costa del Bangladesh.
L’interesse si starebbe
concretizzando in un accordo con la società statale bengalese PetroBengala
margini dell’accordo ci sarebbe anche un prestito cinese di 1 miliardo di
dollari per le casse del povero stato asiatico. La PetroBengala
ha accordi di
esplorazione anche con l’americana ConocoPhillips
e l’irlandese Tullow Oil
L’accordo dovrebbe riaprire il
contenzioso tra Birmania e Bangladesh circa la definizione delle rispettive
zone di competenza in mare.
L’importanza della Birmania
nella politica energetica cinese è testimoniata anche dalla costruzione di un
porto nel nord della Birmania, capace di accogliere il petrolio mediorientale,
che arriva via nave, e trasferirlo con un oleodotto nello provincia cinese dello
Yunnan. Allo stesso tempo Pechino,
con l’interesse per il Bangladesh, dimostra di voler diversificare le rotte di
transito dei suoi approvvigionamenti energetici.
La notizia arriva a pochi
giorni da quelle sulla costruzione di dighe sul fiume Salween
da parte della
Cina e del significativo investimento della coreano Daewoo
Segue l'articolo in originale.
China Hedges its Energy Bet with Move into Bangladesh
THE IRRAWADDY — The Chinese state oil giant that has a grip
on Burma's biggest gas field is now venturing into neighboring Bangladesh—a
move which may stifle long-running conflict over territorial waters in the Bay
National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) is reportedly about to sign an agreement
government-controlled PetroBangla to
search for oil and gas both on and off shore. The deal follows a visit by
senior CNPC officials to Bangladesh
earlier this year and Chinese government promises of a US $1 billion loan to the impoverished country.
Burma and Bangladesh have
clashed over competing territorial claims to sections of the sea believed to
hold gas and oil.
than one year ago gunboats from the two countries' navies confronted one
another around a drilling rig financed by industrial giant Daewoo. The
South Korean company is the project leader and major investor in two sectors of
the Shwe field just inside Burmese
waters which has proven gas reserves of
at least 200 billion cubic meters—all of which have recently been bought by
Analysts take the view that this development is
another example of China
hedging its bets in the region on the future of Burma,
even though many feel that the military junta-run country has fallen into Beijing's political
"Given recent events, it would be wise indeed for
China to hedge its bets by
exploring gas opportunities with Bangladesh,"
Australian economist and Burma
expert Sean Turnell told The
Irrawaddy this week. "That this is regardless of border
sensibilities says much too about China's
real regard to the feelings of its vassal [Burma]."
The offshore border line between Burma and Bangladesh remains undefined under
international demarcations defined by the UN's Law of the Sea boundaries. Both
countries have stalled making submissions to the UN.
Turnell, a professor at Sydney's
and compiler of the Burma
Economic Watch, has documented how China's
economic and political grip over Burma has grown while Western
countries have imposed sanctions against the regime.
Beijing has not only secured large volumes of Burma's
gas reserves but is using the impoverished country as a conduit to ship Middle
East oil by building a port in an isolated part of Burma's Bay of Bengal coast
to transship supplies via a 1,200-kilometer pipeline into China's southwest
But Turnell believes even China remains wary of the stability
of the Burmese junta.
"The incidents on the [northern] border amply
demonstrate the SPDC's own immunity to international opinion when it comes to
the crunch—even that of their principal creditor and supporter," he says.
Another Chinese state company, Shanghai Electric
Group, has just won a US $101 million contract in Bangladesh to build a 150 megawatt
gas-fuelled power plant.
Burma and Bangladesh have
discussed cooperation on mutually beneficial electricity generation a number of
times but talks remained inconclusive.
News of the Chinese moves in Bangladesh comes on the heels of other renewed
activity in the Bay of Bengal by Burma's energy hungry neighbor.
PetroBangla has awarded offshore exploration contracts
to two Western companies— U.S.-based ConocoPhilllips and Ireland's
The chairman of PetroBangla, Mohammad Muqtadir Ali,
insists the companies will not be allowed to explore for oil and gas in
Previous Bangladeshi efforts to attract foreign
bidders for offshore drilling licenses were unsuccessful, seemingly because of
the territorial disputes with both Burma
"Several factors have changed recently, including
a more stable government in Bangladesh
and Dhaka's resolve to submit formal sea
territory claims to the United Nations," said Bangkok-based industry
analyst-consultant Collin Reynolds.
"But the arrival of Chinese players on both sides
of Burma's border is a bit
of a conundrum, especially for the government of Burma."
also recently expressed interest in co-funding a major crude oil transshipping
and processing terminal on the west coast of Malaysia. That terminal also offers
Beijing an alternative route for its Middle East
imports should relations with Burma
sour or a change of regime occurs there.
(2 Settembre 2009)