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Woodside inks Burma contracts

Uncharted waters: Woodside has signed four deals with Burma. Picture: Stephen Scourfiled/The West Australian contracts

Woodside Petroleum has moved a significant step forward in its quest to become one of the trendsetters in the unexplored waters off Burma after signing production sharing contracts with the South-East Asian country's government on Friday night.

The PSCs cover four blocks that Woodside picked up in the 2013 Myanmar Offshore Bid Round. The Perth company's interests vary from 55 per cent to 45 per cent, with its partners BG Group and Myanmar Petroleum Exploration & Production Company hold the rest of the equity.

The PSCs allow Woodside and partners to start exploration work in the offshore blocks, subject to environmental approvals.

Woodside has not revealed the terms of the PSC but has pledged the start of an "active program of exploration".

Combined with its interests in two other offshore blocks, Woodside has an interest in a combined area of 46,000sqkm in the Rakhine Basin and claims to be its biggest acreage holder.

“The Rakhine Basin is an emerging oil and gas province that fits very well with Woodside’s proven capabilities in deepwater exploration and development,” Woodside executive vice president, global exploration, Phil Loader, said.

Burma, also known as Myanmar, is one of several new exploration frontiers that Woodside has identified and entered in the past three years. Much of the focus has been on Africa though Woodside has also picked up acreage off New Zealand and Ireland.