Total and Chevron Halt Cash Distribution by Joint Venture With Myanmar Ties

Total SE and Chevron Corp. will suspend cash distribution by a joint venture that counts a Myanmar state-owned company as a shareholder.

The French energy giant was recently criticized in newspaper Le Monde for allowing Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise to benefit from the payments. Recent reports claim the payouts eventually help Myanmar’s military government while it continues a bloody crackdown following a coup earlier this year.

Moattama Gas Transportation Co., in which Total and Chevron have a combined 59.5% stake, is suspending all cash distribution to shareholders effective April 1 “in the light of the unstable context in Myanmar,” Total said in a statement Wednesday. The two oil companies made the joint proposal to suspend the payments at the unit’s shareholders meeting, the French company said.

Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise owns 15% of the pipeline company that carries gas from the Yadana field in the country to the Thai border. Thailand’s state-run energy explorer PTT Exploration & Production Pcl owns 25.5%.

Yadana continues to produce gas “in accordance with applicable laws, so as not to disrupt the electricity supply that is vital to the local populations of Myanmar and Thailand,” Total said.

The company added that it “condemns the violence and human rights abuses occurring in Myanmar and reaffirms that it will comply with any decision that may be taken by the relevant international and national authorities.”

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