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Payments From Gas Projects To Myanmar’s Junta Suspended By Total, Chevron

Payments From Gas Projects To Myanmar’s Junta Suspended By Total, Chevron
Some of the payments that was to reach from a joint venture for gas to Myanmar's junta have been suspended by the French oil and gas group Total and the United States based energy company Chevron.
The move has been praised by the pro-democracy activists who have hailed this as the first step to starve the junta of funds.
There has been growing pressure from human rights groups as well as from the parallel civilian government of the country on international companies operating in Myanmar to reconsider their business operations there so that money does not flow into the accounts of the military government that took over the country on February 1.
There has been continued chaos in the country since the military junta took over reign of the country by overthrowing the elected government and detaining Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi. In response to the pro democratic protests, the military has retaliated with brutal force and has attempted to crush the daily protests, marches and strikes throughout the country supporting the now ousted civilian government there.
“In light of the unstable context in Myanmar", the company has voted to suspend all cash distributions after a joint proposal with Chevron shareholders at the meeting of the Moattama Gas Transportation Company, Total said in a statement.  
With 31.24 per cent share, Total is the biggest shareholder while Chevron owns 28 per cent share of the project. The remained is owned by Thailand's PTTEP and Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise.
"Total condemns the violence and human rights abuses occurring in Myanmar and reaffirms that it will comply with any decision that may be taken by the relevant international and national authorities, including applicable sanctions issued by the EU or the U.S. authorities," the statement said.
"The humanitarian crisis in Myanmar requires a collective response to improve the welfare of the people of Myanmar," Chevron said in a statement.
"Any actions should be carefully considered to ensure the people of Myanmar are not further disadvantaged by unintended and unpredictable consequences of well-intentioned decisions," added that United States based company.
The decision to suspend payments of dividends was welcomed by Justice for Myanmar, an activists group, and added that this measure will help to cut down on one source of funds flowing to the junta.
"But we note that this is only a minor portion of the revenue that the junta is receiving from Total’s operations in Myanmar, which also includes the state’s share of gas revenues, royalties and corporate income taxes," Justice For Myanmar spokesperson Yadanar Maung said in a statement.
The Yadana fields produce gas that is used by power plants in Thailand and is located off Myanmar's southwest coast in the Gulf of Martaban. The gas produced from the field is also used by Myanmar's domestic market and is delivered through an offshore pipeline that was built and operated by state energy firm Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise.
Total said it was continuing to maintain the production of the Yadana gas field "so as not to disrupt the electricity supply that is vital to the local populations of Myanmar and Thailand."

Christopher J. Mitchell

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