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Residents of Kyaukphyu and 21 surrounding villages began enjoying the benefits of 24-hour electricity as from Sunday when small-scale gas turbines began turning at the Shwe Gas pipeline terminal.
According to a retired electricity official in the city, Pho San, some 20 million cubic feet of compressed natural gas (CNG) per a day is now providing power to the town and its satellite villages. He said the price of electricity is 35 kyat per unit for home use and 75 kyat per unit for industrial purposes– the standard price across Burma.
Officials said the small turbines will be upgraded to larger ones in about two years’ time.
However, in nearby Ann township, locals have reported that the pipeline—which in July began carrying natural gas from the Bay of Bengal to China—developed a leak last week.
Residents told DVB that the pipeline started leaking gas near the village of Kyaukmyaung village on the evening of 13September.
Kyaukmyaung resident Hla Soe Maung said the pipeline began leaking gas and spewed fire for about 15 minutes last Friday, prompting officials from the China National Petroleum Corporation, the main backers of the pipeline project, to travel to the site to inspect the damage the next morning.
Htun Htun Naing of civil society group Myanmar China Pipeline Watch also visited the area and offered his insight into the incident.
“There are cable wires buried along the pipeline which can trigger an alarm,” he said. “The operators can simply block the gas flow to a certain point of the pipeline and the fire should stop when the gas run out.”
He said there were similar incidents during testing.