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The departures of France’s TotalEnergies and Norway’s Telenor have left the military regime with more money and control.
Report: Companies Quitting Myanmar Provide Hollow Victories Against Junta Companies Quitting Myanmar Provide Hollow Vi... | View Comments ()
In July, French oil and gas company TotalEnergies left Myanmar almost as controversially as it had arrived three decades ago.
From the early 1990s, the French energy conglomerate’s investment in the Yadana offshore gas field provided a financial lifeline to the country’s previous military junta amid international sanctions. A 1996 report by the U.S.-based group EarthRights International said the Yadana project also contributed to extrajudicial killings, forced labor, and dispossession as the regime laid the ground for a pipeline linking the gas field with Thailand. When a new junta seized power in a coup in February 2021, ending a 10-year period of partial democracy, TotalEnergies was once again in the sights of activists.
Although reserves are declining, oil and gas exports remain Myanmar’s largest source of foreign currency; in August, the junta said cross-border sales had earned it more than $2.5 billion in less than a year. Since the coup, this revenue has been financing a brutal crackdown on a nationwide uprising against military rule, called the Spring Revolution. A Bloody Money Campaign led by a coalition of Burmese activists had a straightforward message for TotalEnergies and other foreign energy companies in Myanmar: “Stop funding crimes against humanity!”
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