TotalEnergies and Chevron are withdrawing from Myanmar because of the deteriorating situation in the country since the military seized power nearly a year ago.
“The situation, in terms of human rights and more generally the rule of law, which have kept worsening in Myanmar since the coup of February 2021, has led us to reassess the situation and no longer allows TotalEnergies to make a sufficiently positive contribution in the country,” the French oil company said in a statement.
TotalEnergies (TOT) has operated the offshore Yadana gas field in Myanmar since 1992, and is the biggest shareholder in the project. About 70% of the gas is exported to Thailand.
In its statement, the company said it was unable to prevent revenues from the Yadana gas field reaching the government of Myanmar.
Chevron (CVX), which owns a smaller stake in Yadana, also said it was quitting the country.
“In light of circumstances in Myanmar, we have reviewed our interest in the Yadana natural gas project to enable a planned and orderly transition that will lead to an exit from the country,” a Chevron spokesperson said.
“As non-operator with a minority interest in the project, our immediate priority remains the safety and well-being of employees, safe operations and the supply of much-needed energy for the people of Myanmar and Thailand,” the spokesperson added.
Myanmar has been in turmoil since the military overthrew the previous elected government and detained many top officials — including ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
After taking power, the military conducted a violent crackdown on pro-democracy protesters. Countries including the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom responded by slapping new sanctions on the regime as well as some of its key officials and their families.
Since the coup, TotalEnergies said it had ceased all projects except gas production at Yadana, “which is essential for supplying electricity to the local Burmese and Thai population.”
Other shareholders in the project include Thailand’s national energy company PTT and the state-owned Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise.
TotalEnergies said its withdrawal would be effective “at the latest at the expiry of the 6-month contractual period.”
“During this notice period, TotalEnergies will continue to act as a responsible operator in order to ensure the continuity of gas deliveries for the benefit of the population,” it added.