Energy majors TotalEnergies and Chevron have decided to initiate the contractual process of withdrawing from Myanmar, citing uncontrolled human rights abuses and worsening rule of law since the Southeast Asian country’s military overthrew the government.
TotalEnergies has been a partner and operator of the Yadana gas field in Myanmar since 1992, alongside Unocal-Chevron, PTTEP, a subsidiary of the Thai national energy company PTT, and the Burmese state-owned company MOGE.
The Yadana field produces around 6bn cu m per year of gas, of which about 70% is exported to Thailand, where it is sold to the national company PTT and 30% to the national company MOGE for domestic use.
Following the coup in February last year, the French company resolved to halt all its ongoing projects in the country, but to continue gas production from the Yadana field and to limit the financial flows received by MOGE.
“Despite the actions taken, TotalEnergies has not been able to meet the expectations of many stakeholders, who are calling to stop the revenues going to the Burmese state through the state-owned company MOGE from the Yadana field production. In fact, this is materially impossible for TotalEnergies, as most of the payments for the sale of the gas are made directly by the Thai company PTT, the buyer of the exported gas,” the company said in a statement.
TotalEnergies said it would withdraw from the field and from MGTC, both as an operator and as a shareholder, without any financial compensation. MGTC is owned by the same partners as in the Yadana field and operates a pipeline that carries gas to the Burmese-Thai border.
The withdrawal will be effective at the expiry of the six-month contractual period. The agreements also stipulate that, in the event of withdrawal, TotalEnergies’ interests (31.24%) will be shared between the current partners, unless they object to such an allocation, and that the role of the operator will be taken over by one of the partners. Chevron was the second largest shareholder, with around 28%. Chevron’s spokesperson told Splash on Friday that, in light of circumstances in Myanmar, the San Ramon-based company has reviewed its interest in the Yadana gas project “to enable a planned and orderly transition that will lead to an exit from the country.”
“As a 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.”