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French Oil Company Defends Burma Energy Projects


French oil group Total says it has not made any new acquisitions or investments in Burma since 1998, after French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Wednesday urged the company to freeze investments in the southeast Asian country.

Total defended its business in Burma, saying companies that would take their place in the country may be less ethical.

The French oil giant directly employs at least 240 people in Burma, and operates the Yadana offshore gas field, selling the majority of its product to Thailand.

Chevron, a U.S. oil company, also has a stake in the Yadana project.

Critics say the money brought in by foreign investors like Total keeps the current military regime in power.

Burma is thought to have substantial supplies of natural gas and oil that have attracted energy companies from China, India, and Malaysia.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, Bloomberg and Reuters.