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French Oil Company TotalEnergies Leaves Myanmar

FILE - This photo shows TotalEnergies tower in La Defense business district outside Paris on Sept.7, 2021.
FILE - This photo shows TotalEnergies tower in La Defense business district outside Paris on Sept.7, 2021.

French Oil Company TotalEnergies and U.S. oil company Chevron have announced they are pulling out of a major joint gas project in Myanmar, citing the February coup.

In February, Myanmar's military junta seized power, arresting civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and much of her government. Since then, local and international rights groups say security forces have killed more than 1,400 people and arrested thousands.

In a statement on its website, TotalEnergies said that while it has condemned the February coup from the start and halted all new projects in the country, it and partner Chevron continued to produce gas from the Yadana field, which is essential to supplying electricity to local citizens and to protect its employees from the risk of criminal prosecution or forced labor.

But, the statement said, the situation in the country “in terms of human rights and more generally the rule of law … have kept worsening” and “no longer allows TotalEnergies to make a sufficiently positive contribution in the country.” The statement said the company will continue operating until its contract expires in six months.

In its own statement, Chevron, a minority partner in the project, said, "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.”

TotalEnergies and Chevron, along with other firms, were part of a joint venture operating the Yadana gas project off Myanmar's southwest coast, and the MGTC transportation system carrying gas from the field to the Myanmar-Thailand border.

They have now become the latest Western companies to decide to pull out in the wake of the coup.

Some information for this report was provided by the Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.

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