140+ groups demand Chevron cut off oil revenue flows to Myanmar military
Today Publish What You Pay-US joined with over 140 other groups calling on Chevron and its partners to use their ownership stakes in joint ventures with the Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE) to ensure that payments of royalties and other revenues are not made to MOGE. Instead, the letter demands that companies make revenue payments into protected accounts until a legitimate and democratically elected government is returned.
This letter reinforces calls from Myanmar civil society and the Committee Representing the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw not to legitimize the military regime and to ensure that money from the oil and gas industry does not go to the MOGE or the military. All offshore and onshore gas and oil contracts in Myanmar include a production or profit-sharing arrangement with MOGE, a state-owned oil and gas company. Chevron operates in Myanmar through its wholly-owned subsidiary Unocal. Unocal has a stake in the Yadana offshore gas project along with Total, the Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE), and Thai-owned PTT Exploration and Production Public Company.
The Yadana project is a huge source of government revenue– Chevron’s participating interest in the Yadana project likely generated nearly $600 million in payments to MOGE between 2015-2019. Reporting suggests that during the previous era of military rule, some $4.8 billion in potential Myanmar government revenues generated from the Yadana offshore gas project was excluded from the national budget over the 2000-2008 period, a travesty Myanmar’s citizens can’t afford to see repeated. According to the joint letter:
“Revenues now paid to MOGE are at high risk of being misappropriated and used to fund the illegitimate military regime and the operations of the Myanmar military. Neither the U.S. nor any other government – nor the U.N. – has formally recognized the military regime as the Government of Myanmar, thus any money paid over to the regime may be assisting in the theft of Myanmar’s public assets…In the present context, if no action is taken, Chevron and its joint venture partners will be paying hundreds of millions of dollars into accounts that are now controlled by that same military, a military whose leadership is on trial in international courts for committing genocide and that has now killed over 250 protestors. This would run counter to the UN Guiding Principles, which require Chevron to seek to prevent adverse human rights impacts that are directly linked to their business relationships.”
Pressure is ramping up — the US Treasury Department just announced additional targeted sanctions on Monday, while the House of Representatives passed a resolution in a vote of 398-14 on Friday condemning the coup. PWYP-US will continue to stand in solidarity with the Myanmar civil disobedience movement (CDM) and will push the US government, as well as US companies to denounce the coup and support the calls from the CDM for the establishment of a legitimate and democratically elected government in Myanmar by not doing business with the junta–starting with Chevron.