Chevron (NYSE:CVX) is selling its 41.1% stake in Myanmar’s giant Yadana gas project to a subsidiary of the Canadian oil company MTI Energy.
Chevron first disclosed the deal to the Guardian earlier this month.
“Yadana is the biggest gas project in Myanmar, within an industry that is the largest source of foreign revenue for the illegal military junta. Gas revenue bankrolls the junta’s ongoing war crimes and crimes against humanity,” said NGO Justice For Myanmar.
The Yadana project was formerly operated by TotalEnergies, which withdrew in 2022, increasing Chevron’s stake to 41.1%, the largest in the consortium. Other stakeholders in the project are Thailand’s PTTEP, the current operator, and Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE), a state agency controlled by the junta.
When TotalEnergies left in July 2022, Chevron elected to receive its proportionate share of its working interest in Yadana, which temporarily increased the US major’s interest from 28.26% to 41.1%. This raised eyebrows at the time, given Chevron had said it was leaving after the military coup. But by doing this, it gave Chevron greater control over incoming joint venture parties, noted industry analysts. The result of Chevron accepting the increased share and exiting through a transaction is that MOGE received less interest in Yadana.
Still, “through the sale, MTI Energy and Chevron will ensure funds continue to flow to the junta, making them complicit in the junta’s international crimes,” argued Justice For Myanmar.
The NGO added that MTI Energy Inc, based in Edmonton, Alberta, is an offshoot of oilfield equipment manufacturer Mitey Titan Industries and located at the same address. MTI Energy CEO Mehtab (Tab) Khehra has been described as heading “a whole galaxy of service companies active in Cameroon, Congo, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea and especially Nigeria.”
Justice For Myanmar calls for Canadian and UK sanctions on MOGE following MTI Energy’s investment in the Yadana gas project. For now, Canadian and UK sanctions appear insufficient in preventing the transaction.
Justice For Myanmar spokesperson Yadanar Maung says: “Chevron’s irresponsible sale of its stake in the Yadana Project to MTI Energy will ensure that gas funds keep flowing to the illegal Myanmar junta, bankrolling their campaign of terror in response to two years of mass resistance that has prevented the junta from gaining control of Myanmar.
“MTI Energy’s investment will make the company complicit in the junta’s ongoing war crimes and crimes against humanity.
“We condemn MTI Energy’s total disregard for the lives and democratic will of the people of Myanmar, and its blatant breach of the company’s obligations under the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
“This sale is the result of failures of the Canadian and UK governments to sanction Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE).
“Is the Canadian government willing to stand by while a Canadian company takes over the largest stake in such a significant gas project that enriches the murderous, illegal junta?
“We call on the Canadian and UK governments to immediately sanction MOGE and prevent companies in their territories from financing the junta’s international crimes,” said the NGO.
Chevron said it “has agreed to sell its 41.1% interest in the Yadana Project to Et Martem Holdings Ltd. The terms of the agreement are confidential.
“We are proud to have played a role in growing and developing the Yadana Project over the last 20 years. Throughout this sale process we will continue to meet our commitments to protect our employees, manage an orderly and safe transition and support the humanitarian needs of vulnerable local communities.
“We will fulfill our existing commitments to support the community. Since 1992, Chevron has helped to improve the quality of life for the people in Myanmar through health, economic development and renewable energy programs.”