NUG Demands Thai Energy Giant Switches Off Gas Payments to Myanmar Junta


It's difficult to tell someone which way to go when he's surrounded by minefields. The National Unity Government (NUG) renewed their efforts to get Thailand to seize the Burmese earnings from the Burmese military government. Why now?


Thailand  is facing an election in a few weeks. NUG wants to help their socialist Thai friends in the opposition to win. In real terms, the opposition is headed by  a billionaire in exile, whose popularity derives from giving the poor other people's money. It's difficult to run against Santa Claus at Christmas time, and the current military backed government is sweating the election.


There is no easy way for the current Thai government to win. The best thing they can do is take actions that will decide what is to be done after the elections. And do absolutely nothing but form committees which can generate news stories of them taking action. It is impossible for them to do anything serious, when they're at the point of a gun. So just make it look good for now.


Longer term, what is the Burmese military government to do? No matter the choice, NUG is pushing them hard into the arms of Russia, China, or maybe even India. NUG wants to continue a bloody war that it is very unlikely to win. NUG has proven itself more blood thirsty than the military it's fighting, whacking their political foes right and left, while claiming its self-appointed government to be the legitimate government of Myanmar. If it truly believed in democracy, it would instead try to ensure that the next election is fair.


What if NUG is capable of de-funding the current Burmese military government? The generals would be scrambling for funding sources. Given the current financial structure of Myanmar, the quickest solution is funding from natural resources.


My background is geology, but the geology of Myanmar is difficult to cope with. The surface of the earth is floating on a semi-liquid mantle, the movements of which not even the experts can agree upon. What is clear is that several neighboring plates of crust are strongly pushing into each other, causing the country's frequent earthquakes. And the general direction of the crust's movement is upwards, forming the hills of the ethnic homelands.


They call the geological process metamorphism. The heat and pressure of the crustal movement causes the elements in the earth to re-group, forming new rocks and minerals. Grains of metal re-group into veins of metal, easier to mine. But trying to figure out the resultant geological structures can be maddeningly difficult. So while the country is blessed with mineable minerals, it is exceedingly difficult to figure out the geological structures in such a way as to mine them.


Oil, gas, and coal have different histories. Traditional mines and wells are extracting from flat sedimentary structures which are much easier to figure out. The plate tectonics (movements) distort the rock strata, making these harder to figure out. But gravity helps with this. Oil, being a liquid, flows downward until it meets relatively impenetrable rock strata, where it forms pools of oil underground. Coal stays within its sedimentary rock strata. Natural gas escapes from the coal and oil, typically being more mixed with the oil. Gravity forces the oil to seek the lowest level of rock strata it can find, so you will typically see oil offshore, in the lowest elevations.


Plate tectonics makes deciphering the resultant geology more difficult than it could be. One plate is sliding under another in the Andaman Sea. This is where Myanmar's gas fields are located. The general geology has largely been figured out there, and this is the easiest source of "quick" funds for the government. But "quick" is measured in years. The easiest way for the government to monetize this area is to promote their development into oil/gas wells. Agreements can be reached such that a local workforce can be trained to extract the oil and gas, and funds from the wells can be structured to favor up-front payment. Between Russia, China, and India, someone is going to be interested.