Open Net demands Chevron escrow gas dividends to MOGE, military financier

by | Apr 16, 2021 | Open Government, Press Release | 0 comments

March 23, 2021


Michael Wirth

CEO, Chevron Corporation

6001 Bollinger Canyon Road

San Ramon, CA 94583, USA



Dear Mr. Wirth,


Re: Unocal Operations in Myanmar

We write in regards to Chevron’s business in Myanmar through its wholly-owned subsidiary (Unocal Myanmar Offshore Co. Limited – Unocal) and the recent coup d’etat by the Myanmar military.

The people of Myanmar strongly oppose the military coup. This is evidenced by nationwide protests including people from all different backgrounds, ethnicities and professions as well as tens of thousands of public servants participating in the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM) against the Myanmar military coup. The CDM is intended to disrupt the military regime’s ability to control the country, including limiting its ability to collect revenue.

The international community has also condemned the coup and human rights abuses by the military: the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council convened a Special Session on Myanmar; the UN Security Council has expressed “deep concern”; Canada, the United Kingdom (UK), and the United States of America (US) issued targeted sanctions against military leaders; and the European Union (EU) has condemned the military coup “in the strongest terms.” The Myanmar ambassador to the UN, U Kyaw Moe Tun, has also called on the international community to not recognize the junta and to take the strongest possible actions against the military, a call echoed by the UN’s Special Envoy on Myanmar who has asked “How much more can we allow the Myanmar military to get away with?”; South Korea has suspended defense exchanges and the Australian government has suspended military cooperation; New Zealand has suspended all diplomatic relations with Myanmar; Myanmar has been suspended from the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative; and both the World Bank and Asian Development Bank have suspended sovereign lending to Myanmar.

Based on this context, we, the undersigned organizations and concerned individuals, call on Chevron and its partners to use their ownership stakes in joint ventures with the Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE) to ensure that payments of royalties and other revenues are not made to MOGE. Instead, companies should make revenue payments into protected accounts until such time as the legitimate and democratically elected government is returned.

According to revenue figures from FY2019-2020, oil and gas revenues provided Myanmar with USD 1.5 billion in annual income, with around 80% of that income derived from the offshore gas sector. MOGE, the Myanmar state-owned oil and gas company, collects much of that income through its joint ventures and revenue sharing agreements with international corporations, including Chevron. Even though MOGE has long been one of the most opaque economic actors in Myanmar, all offshore and onshore gas and oil contracts include a production or profit-sharing arrangement with MOGE. 

Chevron’s most significant stake in Myanmar’s oil and gas sector is through the Yadana offshore gas project located off the southwest coast of Myanmar. Total, Chevron, MOGE, and Thai-owned PTT Exploration and Production Public Company Limited (PTTEP) jointly own the project, which is a huge source of revenue for the Myanmar government–according to the 2016/17 MEITI report, the Yadana project accounted for 42% of total oil and gas production from offshore projects. According to Reuters, Chevron’s participating interest in the Yadana project likely generated nearly $600 million in payments to MOGE between 2015-2019.

Chevron and its partners must use their ownership stakes in joint ventures with MOGE to ensure that these payments of royalties and other revenues are not made to MOGE. These revenues are at high risk of being misappropriated and used to fund the operations of the Myanmar military as well as the illegitimate military regime, and could be used to support military operations and interests, including the generals and military units responsible for the coup and recent atrocities against the Rohingya, other ethnic groups, and against those participating in the CDM. Neither the U.S. nor any other government – nor the U.N. – has formally recognized the military regime as the Government of Myanmar, thus any money paid over to the regime may be assisting in the theft of Myanmar’s public assets. 

Thus far, Chevron has responded to the coup in a letter on 12 February and a joint statement on 18 February, saying that it adheres to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and that it will work to “promote responsible investment and locally support business practices” in Myanmar. We note, however, that Chevron’s main local business partner is MOGE, a government entity run by an appointee nominated by the previous military-led government that has a history of being used during military rule to misappropriate potentially billions of dollars of funds. In the present context, if no action is taken, Chevron and its joint venture partners will be paying hundreds of millions of dollars into accounts that are now controlled by that same military, a military whose leadership is on trial in international courts for committing genocide and that has now killed over 250 protestors. This would run counter to the UN Guiding Principles, which require Chevron to seek to prevent adverse human rights impacts that are directly linked to their business relationships. 

We therefore support calls from Myanmar civil society and the Committee Representing the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw not to legitimize the junta and for Chevron and other companies in the oil & gas sector to ensure that money from the oil and gas industry does not go to the MOGE or the military. Chevron and its partners must use their position in joint ventures with MOGE to suspend all payments to the Myanmar government and make revenue payments into protected accounts until a legitimate, democratically elected government is in place. We encourage you to publicly support a return to democracy and civilian-led government and an end to military involvement in Myanmar’s civilian politics and to recognize what has happened as a coup, rather than referring to it as “the current situation” as articled in your 12 February statement. We request a meeting with you at your earliest convenience to discuss these matters.  


Yours sincerely,


Academics Stand Against Poverty
All Arakan Students’ and Youths’ Congress (AASYC)
Amazon Watch
Another Development
Arakan Rivers Network (ARN)
Australia Karen Organisation
Australian Centre for International Justice
Australian Council for International Development
Back Pace Health Worker Team
Beautiful Trouble
Burma Campaign UK
Burma Medical Association
Burmese Rohingya Association in Japan
Calgary Karen Community Association (CKCA)
California Karen Youth Forum
California Shan Social & Cultural Society, USA
Campaign for a New Myanmar
Canadian Lawyers for International Human Rights
Centre National d’appui au développement et à la participation populaire , CENADEPChange the Chamber 
Civil Liberties Defense Center
Civil society groups in Myanmar
Coalition for Integrity
CODEPINK for Peace
Collectif HAMEB France
Corporate Accountability Lab
DEEKU-Karenni Community of Amarillo
EarthRights International
Edmonton Karen Community Youth Organization
EnergyTransparency Association, Ukraine
European Karen Network
FracTracker Alliance
Free Burma Campaign (South Africa)
Friends of the Earth Australia
Fund Our Future
Global Witness
Heartland Initiative, Inc.
Human Rights Foundation of Monland (HURFOM)
Info-Birmanie (France)
Institute for Asian Democracy
Inter Pares
Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility
International Accountability Project
International Campaign for the Rohingya
International Karen Organization
Kansas Karenni community
Karen Affairs Committee
Karen Community of Canada (KCC)
Karen Community of Czech Republic
Karen Community of Finland
Karen Community of Hamilton
Karen Community of Ireland
Karen Community of Israel
Karen Community of Kitchener & Waterloo
Karen Community of Leamington
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Karen Community of Saskatoon
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Karen Community of Toronto
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Karen Community Society of British Columbia (KCSBC)
Karen Environmental and Social Action
Karen Human Rights Group
Karen Organization for Relief and Development
Karen Organization of America
Karen Organization of America
Karen Peace Support Network
Karen River Watch
Karen Student Association, Omaha, NE
Karen Student Network Group
Karen Swedish Community
Karen Teacher Working Group
Karen Thai Group
Karen Women Organization
Karen Youth Network
Karen Youth of Norway
Karen Youth of Toronto
Karen Youth Organization
Karenni Community of Arizona
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Karenni Community of Sioux Falls, SD
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Karenni Community of Utica, NY
Karenni Community of Washington
Karenni Community of Wisconsin
Karenni Refugees Committed (KnRC)
Karenni Society of Omaha (NE)
Karenni-American Association
Korea Karen Organization
Korea Karen Youth Organization
Market Forces
Maryknoll Sisters
Maven Women
Media Alliance
Mekong Watch
Mineral Inheritors Rights Association
Missionary Oblates
Mosquito Fleet
Never Again Coalition
New Rules for Global Finance
No Business with Genocide
Open Net Association (Korea)
Oversea Karen Organization Japan
Portland Rising Tide
Progressive Voice
Project Blueprint
Project Maje
Publish What You Pay Australia
Publish What You Pay International
Publish What You Pay Uganda
Publish What You Pay United States
Shadow World Investigations (SWI)
Swedish Burma Committee
The Future We Need
The PLAN: Public Legal Aid Network
U.S. Campaign for BurmaUnion Aid Abroad – APHEDA
Union of Concerned Scientists
Uniting Church in Australia, Synod of Victoria and Tasmania


Shaazka Beyerle, Author, Curtailing Corruption: People Power for Accountability and Justice 

Elaine Chan, Pax Christi Metro New York

Patricia Constantino, Pax Christi Metro New York

  1. Doretta Cornell, Sisters of the Divine Compassion

Jean Fallon, Member, Maryknoll Sisters

Mary Geraghty, Pax Christi

Patrick Henry

Michael Hogan, Orangetown Democratic Committee 

Michael Jarvis

Mary Johnson, Pax Christi & Wespac

Kathleen Kanet, Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary

Patricia Krasnausky, Pax Christi

Michael Moran, St. Francis Xavier TC Church, NYC

Mary Mullady, Pax Christi

Thomas Pogge, Yale University

Hedy Rudne

Nate Sibley, Hudson Institute’s Kleptocracy Initiative

Alberto Turlon

Jodi Vittori

Pichamon Yeophantong, University of New South Wales (Canberra)



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