Total has rejected calls from campaigners to block payments to Myanmar’s military junta from the country’s offshore gas project, saying doing so would break the law and put local workers at risk.
The energy giant also said it had no plans to shut down production at the Yadana coastal gas field, which was used to generate electricity for millions of people in Myanmar’s largest city Yangon and western Thailand.
Comments, made by Total Chair and CEO Patrick Puyinya A letter Released over the weekend, the French power group clashed with Myanmar’s civil disobedience movement, which happened Wanted to hold his breath The junta has been a source of income since the February 1 coup that overthrew Aung San Suu Kyi’s government.
“The first thing to remember is that non-payment of taxes is a crime under local law,” Paun said, adding that “absolutely no taxes” have been paid to the military since the coup, for this simple reason. ” Banking system It doesn’t work anymore. “
He added that the company had considered paying a monthly fee of 4 4 million to the escrow account, “but without such payment, our authorized company would face arrest and imprisonment.” Pianni said Total would also consider providing equal grants as state taxes to human rights groups in Myanmar.
Total is the operator and largest shareholder of Yadana Gasfield off the coast of southern Myanmar. It operates the field and its pipelines to Chevron, Thailand’s PTT and the state-owned Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise as its partners.
Human rights groups and a Shadow government Members of parliament representing the ousted National League for Democracy (NLD) have been urging foreign powers to deposit all money with MOGE since the coup. However, the multinationals noted that most of what they provided to the state was in the form of natural gas used to generate electricity.
Myanmar’s justice minister, a campaign team, rejected Powani’s explanation, calling on leading agencies to sever ties with the military.
“Starting to pay the military will complicate the junta’s crimes against humanity,” spokesman Yadaner Maung said, describing the offer of grants to rights groups as “a horrible and unreasonable equation to comply with the lives of our people.”
The military has condemned the use of force against anti-coup protesters, and the United States and the United Kingdom have. Restrictions imposed Against junta leader General Min Aung Hlaing, other senior officials and military-affiliated businesses. Of the military Violent crackdown At least 55 people have been killed and more than 2,600 arrested, according to a leading human rights group.
Payanya said he had instructed to stop the total drilling operation, cancel a camouflage and stop the development of gas exploration in an offshore block.
However he acknowledged that their numbers were not enough to defeat President Conte’s government.
Pianni said Thai authorities were fairly wary of the “importance” of the total gas field in western Thailand. “What could happen if an organization like Total decides to cut off electricity to millions of people – shutting down hospitals and businesses, disrupting daily life?”
He also warned that the move from Myanmar could force Total’s local workers to work.
“Looking at the junta’s practices in other economic sectors and giving urgent importance to this gas for power generation, we have no doubt that the junta will not hesitate to force our workers to produce gas by force,” he said.
Total’s comments echo those Made by ChevronWhich has also come under pressure from preachers. Chevron said last month that its direct payments were limited to taxes and did not contribute to the advance distribution of MOG gas.
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