TotalEnergies, a French oil and gas company and Chevron, a US energy corporation, two multinational companies which currently partners in a major gas project in Myanmar, have announced plans to withdraw from the country, citing worsening humanitarian situation there following last year’s coup.

TotalEnergies said it had started the process of withdrawing from the Yadana offshore gas field and the MGTC transportation system as the situation in the country “no longer allows TotalEnergies to make a sufficiently positive contribution in the country.

The French oil giant said its partners had been notified and the plan will be executed latest at the expiration of the 6-month contractual period.

Folowing Myanmar’s national election held in November 2020, the junta seized power in February, citing widespread fraud by the civilian government led by Aung San Suu kyi. Since the February coup, Myanmar’s security forces have killed more than 1,400 people and arrested thousands of activists and protesters in an effort to crush the resistance. The local non-governmental organization, Political Prisoners Assistance Association, has expressed that the board disputes the figures as it believes the number of people killed is higher than that.

A statement released by TotalEnergies, expressed that it has assessed the situation, in terms of human rights and, in general, the rule of law, and have come to the conclusion that the development no longer allows TotalEnergies to make sufficient positive contribution in the country.

The oil firm further stated that, it has decided to start the contractual process of withdrawing from the Yadana field and MGTC in Myanmar, both as operator and shareholder, without request for financial compensation to TotalEnergies.

While speaking about the financial impact of the withdrawal on the company, a TotalEnergies spokesperson stated that the operations in Myanmar totaled $105 million in 2021 which is less than 1% of the company’s revenue.

Similarly, a Chevron spokesperson stated that in the light of the circumstances in Myanmar, the company has commenced review of its interest in the Yadana natural gas project to allow for a planned and orderly transition leading to its exit from the country.

He established that as a non-operator with a minority interest in the project, Chevron’s immediate priority remains the safety and well-being of employees, safe operations, and supplying much-needed energy to the people of Myanmar and Thailand.

Total is the largest shareholder in the project with a 31.24 percent stake, while Chevron owns 28 percent.

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