Woodside Petroleum to pull out of Myanmar one year on from military coup

Australia’s Woodside Petroleum has introduced it’s following multinational power teams Chevron and General in exiting Myanmar, pronouncing it’s not able to paintings within the nation following the army coup just about 365 days in the past and the regime’s proceeding human rights abuses and violence in opposition to civilians.

The strikes apply drive from human rights teams, who’ve known as on corporations to prevent doing trade in Myanmar and bring to a halt the waft of cash from tasks to the junta. February marks a yr because the navy re-took keep an eye on of Myanmar in a coup.

Ultimate week Woodside published it had terminated a production-sharing contract with the state-owned oil and gasoline endeavor MOGE in November, and on Thursday the corporate stated it could abandon the rest of its licences within the nation.

The contract termination covers an offshore block referred to as A-7, the place Woodside owns 45% and Shell owns 45%, and is derived into power on 30 September “with the formal relinquishment procedure ongoing”, Woodside stated. Shell has additionally given up its licence and “has no licences in Myanmar” after relinquishing all of them, a spokesperson stated.

On Thursday Woodside stated it was once additionally taking flight from two different offshore fields the place it holds exploration licenses, AD-1 and AD-Eight, in addition to a 2nd contract with MOGE protecting a 3rd block, A-6.

The withdrawal will value a complete of US$209m, Woodside advised the Australian Inventory Change.

“Given the continued state of affairs in Myanmar we will be able to not ponder Woodside’s participation within the construction of the A-6 gasoline assets, nor different long run actions in-country,” the corporate’s leader government, Meg O’Neill, stated.

Woodside has no longer performed any actions in Myanmar since in a while after the coup and has paid no allow charges to the federal government previously yr, a spokesperson stated.

Myanmar’s navy seized keep an eye on of the rustic in a coup in February 2021 and has since killed greater than 1,200 civilians in a crackdown on pro-democracy protests.

Referred to as the Tatmadaw, the army has confronted world condemnation over its 2017 “clearance operations” – accomplished with “genocidal intent”, in step with UN investigators – in opposition to the ethnic minority Rohingya in Rakhine state, which integrated mass killings, together with of youngsters, gang rapes, arson and torture. Greater than 25,000 Rohingya have been killed, and 700,000 pushed over Myanmar’s border into Bangladesh.

Yadanar Maung, a spokesperson for Justice for Myanmar, welcomed the withdrawals as “a significant step in slicing off finances to the unlawful navy junta”.

“It is very important that the firms go out responsibly, mitigating unfavorable affects and making sure the junta does no longer receive advantages financially from their withdrawal.”

Yadanar Maung stated it was once “shameful the Australian executive had did not take any significant motion to prevent earnings flows to the junta, no longer even sanctioning the conflict felony and commander-in-chief Min Aung Hlaing even supposing just about a yr has handed because the tried coup”.

“Australia is now even lagging at the back of large oil in the case of motion on Myanmar.”

Clancy Moore, the Australian director of anti-corruption coalition Submit What You Pay, welcomed Woodside’s motion however stated different Australian corporations will have to additionally pull out and the federal government will have to take motion in opposition to the regime via sanctioning its generals.

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“Governments together with Australia should nonetheless introduce sanctions to prevent earnings waft from gasoline, oil and mining investment the army … to salary conflict in opposition to the folk of Myanmar.”

Elaine Pearson, the Australia director of Human Rights Watch, stated the departure of Woodside following General and Chevron underscored the will for coordinated and focused sanctions from the USA, EU, Australia, UK, Japan and different involved governments on Myanmar’s herbal gasoline revenues.

“Myanmar’s navy will proceed to gather huge revenues from herbal gasoline and different extractive sectors until new focused sanctions block foreign currencies bills, as a result of different corporations will take over their operations. Sanctions are urgently wanted now on MOGE and different military-controlled entities.”

Pearson stated the departure of power corporations from Myanmar can be simplest gestures as long as the junta stored making a living.

“America, EU, Australia and others wish to impose measures that may have actual financial have an effect on at the junta, if there may be to be any development on human rights.”

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