The shareholders of a gas pipeline operated by Total in Burma, including a company controlled by the Burmese army, will stop receiving payments, assured, Wednesday, May 26, the French oil group, which has been criticized for its role in the country.
“Given the unstable context in Burma, following a joint proposal by Total and Chevron at the general meeting of Moattama Gas Transportation Company Limited [MGTC] on May 12, all distributions to shareholders of this company were suspended ”Total said in a statement. Among these shareholders is the Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE), controlled by the Burmese army.
The other shareholders are Total (31.24%), the American Chevron (28.26%) and the Thai PTTEP (25.5%). Total has been present in Burma since 1992 and several NGOs have urged it to “Stop funding the junta”.
At the beginning of May, The world revealed how the French group set up a revenue sharing system with the junta, via Bermuda. Total had, for its part, refuted the existence of a particular assembly, believing it “Classic” and endorsed by previous authorities. The oil group then canceled an advertising campaign to the tune of 50,000 euros, planned in the columns of the World.
According to its annual report, the group wrote that it paid 37 million dollars (30.3 million euros) in taxes and duties in the country last year. There are also gas deliveries in the form of “Production rights” for a value of 138 million dollars (113 million euros).
The MGTC transports gas from the offshore Yadana field, which Total continues to operate. “Total continues to operate the Yadana field responsibly, maintaining gas production within the framework of the laws in force, so as not to interrupt the supply of electricity which is essential to the populations of Myanmar and Thailand”, explains the group. He adds that he “Condemns violence and human rights abuses” and “Reaffirms that it will respect any decision which may be taken by the competent international or national organizations, including the applicable sanctions imposed by the European and American authorities”.