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EU Sanctions Take Aim at Myanmar Energy Group

Energy companies have come under particular pressure to divest from activists seeking to cut off sources of funding for Myanmar’s junta

Three Chinese-backed power plants have shut down in western Myanmar because of severe impacts from the country's civil strife.
This jetty is for oil tankers on Madae island in Rakhine state. A 1,390-MW LNG-power plant was planned here with Chinese companies but may not begin until the revolution against the country's military ends. Photo: Reuters.


The European Union (EU) has imposed sanctions against more than 20 Myanmar government and military officials and the state-backed oil and gas group, in the first measures targeting the regime’s lucrative energy group.

The targets for asset freezes, unveiled by the European Council, included 22 government and military officials, among them the junta’s ministers of foreign investment, industry and information.

The measures also apply to Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE), a major source of revenue for the country’s ruling junta.

“Restrictive measures now apply to a total of 65 individuals and 10 entities, and include an asset freeze and a prohibition from making funds available to the listed individuals and entities,” the council said in a statement.

Companies in the energy sector have come under particular pressure to divest from Myanmar from activist campaigns seeking to cut off sources of funding for the junta, which overthrew the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi a year ago.

Natural gas projects generated about $1 billion last year for Myanmar’s government, accounting for about half of its foreign exchange receipts.

France’s TotalEnergies and US-based Chevron said last month that they would pull out of the Yadana offshore gasfield project, while Australia’s Woodside Petroleum said it would exit its gas exploration projects in the country.

Last week, Japan’s Mitsubishi and Malaysia’s state-owned oil group Petronas said they would sell their stakes in Yetagun, another gas project.

“We welcome this new round of EU sanctions,” said Yadanar Maung of Justice For Myanmar, a pro-democracy group.

“The designation of MOGE is a historic win for grassroots activism throughout Myanmar and around the world, after over a year of campaigning to stop oil and gas revenue flowing to the terrorist military junta.”


  • George Russell




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George Russell

George Russell is a freelance writer and editor based in Hong Kong who has lived in Asia since 1996. His work has been published in the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, New York Post, Variety, Forbes and the South China Morning Post.


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