US supermajor Chevron has agreed to sell its significant stake in the producing Yadana gas field offshore Myanmar to Canada’s MTI Energy, prompting Justice for Myanmar to call for Canadian and UK sanctions on state-owned Myanma Oil & Gas Enterprise (MOGE).

‍Chevon confirmed to Upstream it has agreed to sell its 41.1% stake in the Yadana gas project to Et Martem Holdings, a subsidiary of MTI Energy.

However, a Chevron spokesperson said the terms of the agreement are confidential and the value of the deal is being kept under wraps.

“Yadana is the biggest gas project in Myanmar, within an industry that is the largest source of foreign revenue for the illegal military junta. Gas revenue bankrolls the junta’s ongoing war crimes and crimes against humanity,” human-rights group Justice for Myanmar said.

Yadana was formerly operated by TotalEnergies until the French supermajor pulled out last year, leaving its equity to be absorbed pro rata by the remaining co-venturers — Chevron, PTTEP of Thailand and MOGE — and PTTEP subsequently took over operatorship.

TotalEnergies’ withdrawal in July 2022 — the company elected not to seek payment for its stake — saw Chevron’s equity temporarily increase from 28.26% to 41.1%, making it the largest of the three remaining partners.

The US company’s stance has always been that it would endeavour to sell its share. Its rationale is understood to be that were it to simply walk away then MOGE would have an even larger stake in Yadana, and a greater say in how the giant offshore gas field is managed.

Meeting commitments

Confirming the agreement to sell its stake, first reported by the UK’s Guardian newspaper, a Chevron spokesperson told Upstream: “We are proud to have played a role in growing and developing the Yadana project over the last 20 years.

“Throughout this sale process we will continue to meet our commitments to protect our employees, manage an orderly and safe transition and support the humanitarian needs of vulnerable local communities.

“We will fulfil our existing commitments to support the community. Since 1992, Chevron has helped to improve the quality of life for the people in Myanmar through health, economic development and renewable energy programmes.”

Little is known about the acquirer, Alberta-based MTI Energy Inc, which online hails itself as “an energy company with a focused acquisition and development of proved and producing fields and investment in renewables”.

With no obvious means of contact, Upstream has approached MTI’s parent Mitey Titan Industries via email for possible comment on the deal.

Complicit in the junta's crimes

“Through the sale, MTI Energy and Chevron will ensure funds continue to flow to the junta, making them complicit in the junta’s international crimes,” Justice for Myanmar claimed.

Affiliate companies of MTI reportedly have stakes in oil and gas assets in countries including Angola and Brazil, the latter involving a deal to acquire Chevron’s stake in the producing Papa Terra field.

MTI Energy is purchasing Chevron’s Yadana stake through its Bermuda subsidiary, Et Martem Holdings, Justice for Myanmar claimed, noting that as a UK overseas territory, Bermuda has implemented UK sanctions on Myanmar under the territory’s International Sanctions Regulations 2013.

However, with MOGE unsanctioned in either jurisdiction, Canadian and UK sanctions appear insufficient to stop the sale going ahead, the lobby group said.

“Chevron’s irresponsible sale of its stake in the Yadana Project to MTI Energy will ensure that gas funds keep flowing to the illegal Myanmar junta, bankrolling their campaign of terror in response to two years of mass resistance that has prevented the junta from gaining control of Myanmar,” Justice For Myanmar spokesperson Yadanar Maung said.

“We condemn MTI Energy’s total disregard for the lives and democratic will of the people of Myanmar, and its blatant breach of the company’s obligations under the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.”

Justice for Myanmar last week again urged the Canadian and UK governments to immediately sanction MOGE and prevent companies in their territories from financing the junta.

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