A junta spokesperson said Myanmar plans to import Russian gasoline and fuel oil to alleviate supply concerns and rising prices, making it the latest developing country to do so in the midst of a global energy crisis.
The Southeast Asian country has maintained friendly relations with Russia, despite the fact that both are subject to a slew of Western sanctions: Myanmar for a military coup that deposed an elected government last year, and Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, which it calls a “special military operation.”
Russia is looking for new customers in the region for its energy as its main export destination, Europe, imposes an embargo on Russian oil in stages later this year.
“We have been granted permission to import petrol from Russia,” military spokesman Zaw Min Tun said at a news conference on Wednesday, adding that it was preferred for its “quality and low cost.”
According to reports, fuel oil shipments will begin arriving in September.
During a trip to Russia last month, junta chief Min Aung Hlaing discussed oil and gas, according to Zaw Min Tun. Myanmar now gets its fuel from Singapore.
Myanmar is considering joint oil exploration with Russia and China, he said.
According to a statement published in a state newspaper on Wednesday, the military has established a Russian Oil Purchasing Committee led by a close ally of Min Aung Hlaing to oversee the buying, importing, and transport of fuel at reasonable prices based on Myanmar’s needs.
Aside from political and civil unrest, Myanmar has been hard hit by high fuel prices and power outages, prompting its military leadership to turn to imports of fuel oil for power plants.
Since the coup in February last year, petrol prices have risen by about 350% to 2,300-2,700 kyat (about $1) per litre.
According to media reports, petrol stations in various parts of the country have closed down due to shortages in the last week.
Russia is also a significant supplier of weapons to Myanmar’s military.