On April 13, ENEOS Holdings (hereinafter referred to as“ENEOS”) announced that their withdrawal from the Yetagun gas project in Myanmar had been approved by the Myanmar “government” on April 12, in referenceto the illegitimate military junta.
This announcement by ENEOS provided little information,with the company stating, “The impact of this transaction on our consolidatedfinancial results is expected to be minimal”, and made no reference to thecompany’s obligations to responsibly exit, in accordance with the UN GuidingPrinciples on Business and Human Rights and the OECD Guidelines.
Malaysian company Petronas has been the operator of theYetagun gas project, under a partnership with Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise(MOGE), PTTEP of Thailand, and the ENEOS consolidated subsidiary, Nippon OilExploration (Myanmar). Other investors in Nippon Oil are the JapaneseGovernment and Mitsubishi Corporation.
While Petronas announced its withdrawal in 2022, ithas not issued an update on the current status of its exit and any steps it hastaken to divest from Myanmar responsibly.
Last year and also this year, Mekong Watch, FoE Japanand Justice For Myanmar (JFM) strongly urged ENEOS and its partners to responsibly disengage, with transparency andthrough consultation with local communities and civil society stakeholders.However, our demands were ignored.
In exiting Myanmar, ENEOS and its internationalpartners have apparently failed to ensure that revenue from the project wouldnot flow to the Myanmar military. Also, ENEOS and its internationalpartners have not taken appropriate steps to close the field, which ispredicted to be near depletion. While under control of the illegal militaryjunta, MOGE cannot be trusted to close the gas field in an environmentallyresponsible way.
According to information obtained by JFM, the Yetagungas project is being taken over by Gulf Petroleum Myanmar, which is part of the Thailand-based NorthernGulf Petroleum group. Northern Gulf Petroleum is structured through shell companies in Bermuda, a taxhaven, according to information on the GPM website on June 28, 2022 (which has nowbeen removed), and has a holding company in Singapore, a corporate structurethat uses secrecy jurisdictions that may help facilitate payments to the junta.The selection of GPM as a successor implies that ENEOS, the Government ofJapan, and Mitsubishi Corporation have not taken adequatemeasures to identify, prevent, mitigate and remedy the negative environmentaland social impacts related to their withdrawal.
We call on ENEOS, the Government of Japan and Mitsubishi Corporation todisclose their human rights due diligence in relation to their withdrawal fromMyanmar, and the steps they will take to address negative impacts, inaccordance with their international human rights responsibilities.
YukaKiguchi, Mekong Watch: [email protected]
YadanarMaung, Justice For Myanmar: [email protected]
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