Myanmar Citizens Call for Gas Sanctions

Myanmar citizens have called for targeted sanctions on oil and gas funds, the country’s single largest source of foreign currency revenue, amid military atrocities.

The sanctions would target the state-owned Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE), a joint venture partner in all offshore gas projects in Myanmar.

Total Energies, the French company that operates a gas field off Myanmar’s coast with a state-owned enterprise, has a majority stake in the venture and runs its daily operations, while MOGE collects revenues on behalf of the government.

A government forecast said MOGE is expected to earn $1.5 billion from offshore and pipeline projects in 2021-2022.

Earlier, protesters marched the streets and carried signs that read “Freeze payments to junta and save Myanmar.”

In November, hundreds of human rights organizations in Myanmar and abroad signed a letter asking the CEO of Total Energies to stop payments to military-controlled accounts.

The French government said it excluded sanctions on oil and gas to avoid adding burden on civilians but said Europe would impose a fourth round of sanctions by February 1, and energy and banking sectors are on the table.

Meanwhile, the U.S. announced a raft of sanctions against several Myanmar officials and entities on Friday, but nothing on oil and gas revenues.

On Wednesday, at a press conference in Jakarta, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken did not touch on the gas sanctions but said the U.S. is exploring additional actions against the ruling military junta as the situation continues to deteriorate.

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