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French energy giant joins push for new Myanmar sanctions

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French energy conglomerate TotalEnergies has called on the US and French governments to support targeted sanctions against Myanmar’s oil and gas funds

In a letter to Human Rights Watch published Thursday, Total CEO Patrick Pouyanné said the company was using all the tools at its disposal to stop funding the junta that took control of the Myanmar government and its accounts. banks in February 2021, including those who receive hundreds of millions of dollars each year from the Yadana gas field.

Since taking power, the army has confronted dissent with increasing brutality, abducting young men and boys, killing health care workers and torturing prisoners.

The sanctions would target the state-owned Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE), which is a joint venture partner in all offshore gas projects in Myanmar, including Yadana with Total, Chevron and PTT Exploration & Production in Thailand. Total owns a majority stake in the company and manages its day-to-day operations, while MOGE collects revenue on behalf of the government.

Total said only sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union would allow it to legally stop payments completely.

Pouyanné wrote that the company had informed French and American authorities that it “supports the implementation of such targeted sanctions” and formally asked the French Foreign Ministry to create a framework for them.

Around 50% of Myanmar’s foreign exchange comes from natural gas revenues, with the MOGE expected to earn $1.5 billion from offshore and pipeline projects in 2021-22, according to Myanmar government forecasts.

“The fact that TotalEnergies and human rights groups are now backing sanctions on Myanmar’s gas revenues leaves the United States and the European Union with no excuse to delay action,” said John Sifton, Advocacy Director for Asia to Human Rights Watch.

French energy giant joins push for new Myanmar sanctions

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