French company TotalEnergies has voiced support for targeted sanctions against gas revenue flows into Myanmar, in a policy shift that activists say could have significant implications for the finances of Min Aung Hlaing’s military regime.
Human Rights Watch announced the change of course, which was set out in a letter from Patrick Pouyanné, the French energy giant’s chief executive, in response to a letter from the campaign group urging it to stop gas payments entities controlled by the Myanmar military.
TotalEnergies operates the Yadana offshore gas field in Myanmar, which pays revenue to state-owned Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE), an entity controlled by the junta since last year’s military coup.
“I can confirm that our company has, over the past few months, had discussions with the French and American authorities regarding the implementation of targeted sanctions on financial flows,” Pouyanné said in the letter dated Tuesday.
The company operates Yadana and its pipelines in partnership with MOGE, the American company Chevron and the Thai PTT as junior partners.
Since the coup, campaign groups such as Human Rights Watch and Myanmar’s broad anti-military protest movement have called on corporations as well as the US and French governments to support targeted sanctions against junta-controlled businesses. .
TotalEnergies had previously argued that imposing sanctions on MOGE would harm ordinary citizens of Myanmar by jeopardizing electricity supplies and the safety of its employees in the country.