A Movement Is Pressuring Governments To Sanction Myanmar Military Oil Company and Myanmar State Banks

Electoral parliamentarians and campaign groups are pressing foreign governments to impose sanctions on Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE) and state banks, which are now under junta control.
40 French lawmakers recently called on their government to support EU sanctions against MOGE, calling it a significant financial windfall for the junta.
Parliamentarians also asked for official recognition of the National Unity Government (NUG) and the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw.
Six US senators requested sanctions against MOGE in a letter to US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Secretary of State Anthony Blinken in April 2021.
“When the junta was in place previously in the 1990s, gas revenues from Total and Chevron/Unocal helped them withstand international sanctions as their reserves diminished. Specifically, we believe that the Tatmadaw should be prevented from having access to a steady supply of international resources,” the senators wrote,
The Washington Post published an editorial urging action on oil and gas revenue flows to the junta the same month.
By passing sanctions on MOGE, the Biden administration could break the deadlock. These sanctions could allow Total and Chevron to continue gas production while preventing profits from being transferred. The Treasury department might also sanction accounts in Thailand and Singapore where MOGE collects royalties, according to the paper.
In recent weeks, campaign groups have increased their efforts.
Daniel Eriksson, CEO of global anti-corruption organization Transparency International, sent a letter to European Commission Vice-President Josep Borrell Fontelles on May 25 calling for EU action to stop oil and gas revenue flowing to Myanmar’s military government.
Daniel wrote, “The junta will likely use [oil and gas revenues] to control the government apparatus, finance atrocities against the local population, purchase arms, and seize portions for private gain.”
The letter called for sanctions against MOGE, Myanma Foreign Trade Bank and Myanmar Investment and Commercial Bank, the intermediary banks that collect oil and gas revenue.
The campaign for sanctions intensified after TotalEnergies and Chevron announced that dividends from the Yadana pipeline project will not be paid, costing the junta tens of millions of dollars.
408 civil society groups released a statement on Friday demanding that TotalEnergies and Chevron “support targeted sanctions rather than lobbying for exemptions.”
The company’s chairman, Patrick Pouyanné, told its shareholders recently that it would comply with any future sanctions.
The Human Rights Watch responded to TotalEnergies and Chevron’s announcement by stating that a suspension of pipeline profits is not enough without targeted sanctions.
Human Rights Watch’s John Sifton said Chevron and Total’s recent decision is a step in the right direction, but it affects less than 5 percent of the natural gas revenue the Myanmar government receives. “For real impact, governments and companies need to stop the junta from receiving funds or accessing bank accounts that receive payments.”
Human Rights Watch has also expressed concern about the role played by Thai oil company PTT and called on governments that have sanctioned military conglomerates to pressure Japan, Singapore, and Thailand to take similar measures.
As echoed by the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw, Global Witness called for targeted sanctions and oil and gas funds to be kept in a protected account.
“To capture the rest of these revenues, the international community must impose targeted economic sanctions against the military’s economic interests in the oil and gas sector. The proceeds from the sale of Myanmar’s natural gas will be held for a future, the legitimate government rather than funding the military regime,” said Keel Dietz of Global Witness.
A Myanmar budget document drawn up before the coup predicted Myanmar would earn 2,305 billion kyat (about US$1.4 billion) from oil and gas in 2022. Just over 10% of total government revenues will come from the sector this year.

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