This month Myanmar Campaign Network joins international campaigners to call for sanctions by the US government on Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE) to prevent blood money flowing to the junta.
This past weekend our comrades from Blood Money Campaign, Global Myanmar Spring Revolution and Action Against Myanmar Military Coup protested outside the US Embassy in Canberra, as have activists from Germany, Japan, Korea and the US.
The Myanmar junta relies on oil and gas revenue to fund its atrocity crimes.
In February this year, Australia joined the US, UK, EU and Canada in sanctioning two huge military conglomerates, Myanma Economic Holdings Public Company Limited (MEHL) and Myanmar Economic Corporation Limited (MEC). These conglomerates and their subsidiaries earn vital foreign revenue for the junta. Australia’s decision was welcomed by all Myanmar campaigners in Australia.
But more needs to be done.
The oil and gas and mining industries are huge earners for the junta. Since the 2021 coup the junta has illegally taken over the accounts of state-owned enterprises including Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise and Myanmar Mining Enterprises 1 and 2. These state-owned enterprises have direct relationships with MEC and MEHL.
In fact, EarthRights International estimates that MOGE, which is responsible for the exploration, production, and sale of oil and gas in Myanmar, has pocketed a whopping US$3 billion since the coup.
This gas revenue is owed to the Government of Myanmar, but international companies are still continuing payments into junta-controlled accounts. Activists have been asking these companies to pay revenues and tax into escrow until a democratic civilian government is restored in Myanmar.
Watch the explainer video by Blood Money Campaign and Global Mayday that shows how the Myanmar military exploits gas revenues.
The Myanmar military uses these revenues to purchase jets, weapons and military equipment from China, Russia and India, among others.
The international companies aiding the Myanmar oil and gas industry
In 2022, the European Union sanctioned the Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise, which caused France’s TotalEnergies to divest in the Yadana gas project, leaving US company Chevron the largest shareholder.
Thai company PTTEP, a subsidiary of PTT took over operations of Yadana.
In February this year Chevron announced it will sell its stake in the Yadana gas project to a subsidiary of Canadian company MTI.
Justice For Myanmar recently revealed a list of 22 international companies supporting the Myanmar oil and gas industry. They call on international investors, including pension funds and their asset managers to convince their investee companies to act responsibly, and to divest from those companies if they do not act responsibly.
Freedom of information requests from Publish What You Pay Australia revealed that Australia’s sovereign wealth fund The Future Fund has over $123 million invested in international oil and gas companies with interests in Myanmar, including $24,789,081 in PTT Public Company Limited, $18,896,978 in subsidiaries of PTT Public Company Limited and $22,728,708 in Chevron Corporation.
Australia, US and UK must join the EU in sanctioning MOGE. These sanctions would hit the military’s finances, which would limit their ability to carry out further repression and brutality.