Global Witness welcomes the news that oil & gas giants Total and Chevron will withdraw from Myanmar. The United States and France must urgently back sanctions on the country’s oil and gas industry.

The French oil giant TotalEnergies has announced that it now actively supports targeted sanctions on the country’s state-owned Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE). US President Biden and French President Macron must immediately move to cut off the State Administration Council’s single largest source of foreign revenues, which is earning the regime approximately $1.5 billion dollars annually.

The United States and France have so far been reluctant to impose these sanctions, amid backdoor lobbying by Chevron and Total. French support is crucial to obtain unanimous backing for sanctions within the EU.

“Today’s news lays to rest a major obstacle for policy makers who have for too long parroted the talking points of the fossil fuel lobby in their refusal to back sanctions on Myanmar’s oil and gas sector,” said Paul Donowitz, Strategy Lead for Myanmar at Global Witness. “It is well past time that the US, France and others listen to the voices of civil society in Myanmar and end the lucrative gas payments that are helping fund the brutal military junta.”

TotalEnergies and Chevron’s Yadana gas project in southern Myanmar has been linked to human rights abuses and forced labour since the mid-1990s. The oil giants were expected to exit the country in 2025 due to depleted stocks.

“The companies must now ensure a responsible exit that respects human rights and follows international responsible business standards,” said Donowitz.