China is planning to expand infrastructure links with the key oil and gas port of Kyaukpyu in Myanmar as part of efforts to develop its Belt and Road (BRI) investments in the country, Argusmedia reported.
The two governments signed an initial deal on 10 January to carry out a feasibility study into building a 650km railway linking the deepwater port in Myanmar's Rakhine state with Mandalay, the country's second-largest city. Studies into a rail link between Mandalay and the city of Muse, on the Chinese border, have already been completed.
The railway will largely follow the route of the Burma Road pipelines, which take oil and gas from Kyaukpyu on Myanmar's Indian Ocean coast to China's Yunnan province. The oil pipeline pumps crude to state-controlled PetroChina's Anning refinery, cutting journey times from the Mideast Gulf by around 3,000km or over a week and enabling tankers to avoid the congested strait of Malacca.