Gasoline and diesel imports to Myanmar (Burma) have fallen by up to 40 percent because of intensifying political unrest in the country, according to market estimates.

Imports of gasoil have fallen by around 30-40 percent from typical levels of 50,000-80,000 b/d, while gasoline imports are down by 20-30 percent from an average of 50,000 b/d, traders said. 

The drop follows a military takeover in Myanmar on February 1, which has sparked street protests across the country and a widespread civil disobedience campaign that has led many businesses to close.

Rising concerns about vessel insurance and difficulties opening letters of credit with banks in Myanmar are complicating trade, Singapore market participants said. Several trading firms have pulled back from supplying the country although Chinese state-controlled firm PetroChina, a leading supplier to Myanmar, is helping to fill the supply gap, they said.

Vortexa data shows just three vessels heading to the country. Two tankers carrying a combined 240,000 bl of gasoil from Singapore are due to arrive in the commercial capital of Yangon soon, while one other smaller vessel with around 8,000 bl is on route from the UAE. 

Several energy companies have already halted operations because of safety concerns. Downstream and midstream firm Puma Energy, which is part-owned by global trading firm Trafigura, has suspended operations at its oil products terminal at Thilawa near the commercial capital of Yangon. The terminal is Myanmar’s largest, with fuel storage capacity of 91,000m³.

Australian independent Woodside Petroleum, which has interests in several offshore gas blocks, said it will reduce its presence in the country and demobilise its drilling team.

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8th March 2021