The energy firms had won two shallow water blocks and two deepwater blocks off the coast of Myanmar’s western Rakhine state in the 2013 Myanmar Offshore Bid Round.

The companies have now signed production sharing contracts (PSCs) for offshore blocks AD-2, AD-5, A-4 and
A-7, awarded in 2013.

Reuters quoted an unidentified source from Myanmar’s Energy Ministry as saying: "Operations at the shallow blocks will take $545.5m at the minimum, while that at deep-sea blocks will cost $535.1m at the minimum."

With equity interests of 55% and 45%, Woodside is the operator of AD-5 and A-7 in southern Rakhine Basin. It also holds 45% in AD-2 and A-4 in northern Rakhine Basin, where BG Exploration & Production (Myanmar) is the operator.

Exploration work at the blocks still awaits preliminary environmental approvals.

Woodside Global Exploration executive vice-president Phil Loader said: "The Rakhine Basin is an emerging oil and gas province that fits very well with Woodside’s proven capabilities in deepwater exploration and development."

Observation and exploration of the blocks are expected to continue for a further seven or eight years, according to the ministry official.