Global Witness welcomes today's announcement by French oil major Total that the Moattama Gas Transportation Company Limited (MGTC) has suspended all cash dividend payments to its shareholders, which include the state-owned and now military-controlled Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise.
The MGTC gas
transportation pipeline, which is jointly owned by Total, Chevron, PTTEP and
MOGE, carries gas produced at the Total-operated Yadana gas field to Myanmar’s
border with Thailand. MOGE owns 15% of the company and receives significant
revenues from its operations, money now accessible by the military regime since
it took control of government accounts in the wake of the coup.
“This announcement is a significant development in efforts to ensure the billion-dollar revenues from the sale of Myanmar’s natural gas are not misappropriated by the illegal military junta,” said Keel Dietz, Policy Advisor at Global Witness.
However, MOGE’s dividend revenues from MGTC, which were approximately $41 million in 2017, for example, are only a fraction of the overall revenues Myanmar receives from the Yadana project, which were close to $400 million in that year. Further, Yadana is just one of three major offshore gas projects providing revenue to the military at this time, meaning that the amount of money blocked by this action is just a drop in the bucket. Additional action remains necessary.
“In order to capture the remainder of these revenues the international community must place targeted economic sanctions on the military’s economic interests in the oil and gas industry. This will ensure that all payments related to the sale of Myanmar’s natural gas are held for the benefit of a future, legitimate government rather than funding the military regime,” said Dietz.