Energy giants Total and Chevron exit Myanmar over deteriorating conditions

French giant TotalEnergies had earlier called for international sanctions targeting the military junta’s primary sources of funding.

TotalEnergies Tower
TotalEnergies Tower

TotalEnergies, one of the world’s largest energy conglomerates, said it is stopping all operations in Myanmar, citing rampant human rights abuses and deteriorating rule of law since the country’s military overthrew the government.

Chevron also said it is planning an exit.

The announcement came just a day after the French company Total called for international sanctions targeting the oil and gas sector, which remains one of the junta’s primary sources of funding.

Total and Chevron had come under increasing pressure over their role in running the offshore Yadana gas field, and Thailand’s PTT Exploration & Production.

Total has a majority stake in the venture and runs its daily operations, while MOGE (Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise) collects revenues on behalf of the government.

Myanmar demonstration
Demonstrators protest against the military junta in Myanmar (AP)

The firm said: “Since the February 1 coup, we have seen the evolution of the country and it is clearly not favourable: The situation of rule of law and human rights in Myanmar has clearly deteriorated over months and despite the civil disobedience movements, the junta has kept power and our analysis is that it’s unfortunately for the long term.”

Since the takeover, the military has cracked down brutally against dissent, abducting young men and boys, killing healthcare workers and torturing prisoners.

Total said it would withdraw without financial compensation and hand over its interests to the other stakeholders.

About 50% of Myanmar’s foreign currency comes from natural gas revenues, with MOGE expected to earn 1.5 billion dollars (£1.1 billion) from offshore and pipeline projects in 2021-2022, according to a Myanmar government forecast.

Prior rounds of US and European sanctions against the Myanmar military have excluded oil and gas.

In a statement released shortly after Total’s announcement, Chevron said it was also planning to leave “in light of circumstances”.

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