Leaked documents show gas revenue is crucial for the junta’s terror campaign

December 16, 2021

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Official documents from the Myanmar military junta show that the leader of the bloody coup attempt is personally concerned over payments from the Yetagun offshore gas field.

The documents, received by Justice For Myanmar and shared with the Wall Street Journal, include notes from the illegitimate junta’s highest body, the State Administrative Council (SAC), where Min Aung Hlaing questions if Yetagun exports have resumed, the status of payments and what to do if payments are not made. In response, Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise prepared a short report, estimating that the junta will receive US$22.37 million in export revenue from October 2021 to March 2022.

The Yetagun project is operated by Malaysia’s Petronas Carigali, in partnership with Thailand’s PTTEP, the Government of Japan, Japanese companies Nippon Oil & Gas Exploration and Mitsubishi Corporation and the junta-controlled Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise.

The documents also show that payments in US dollars are being made into a junta-controlled account at a Singapore branch of Malaysia’s CIMB Bank, which may violate US sanctions on SAC and Min Aung Hlaing.

Justice For Myanmar spokesperson Yadanar Maung says: “The document clearly shows that US-sanctioned junta head Min Aung Hlaing himself is overseeing oil and gas revenues. The fact that top junta leaders are showing concern about when they will get paid demonstrates how crucial oil and gas is for the junta, at a time when they are intensifying their campaign of terror against the people. Oil and gas fund the bullets, bombs and jet fuel that the junta has been using to murder and main civilians since their illegal attempted coup. This evidence of the junta’s concern over payments implicates other businesses in the sector too, notably Chevron, Total, Posco International and CNPC, whose offshore projects and pipelines are financing the junta’s atrocity crimes.

The US government should urgently investigate if US dollar oil and gas payments violate sanctions. We reiterate our call for immediate sanctions on Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise. This evidence shows the depths of Malaysian complicity, with Petronas generating millions for the murderous junta and CIMB Bank facilitating payments. The Malaysian Government, as an owner of Petronas and a major shareholder of CIMB, must end its complicity in the Myanmar military’s international crimes.”

Note to editors

See our web feature, Leaked documents show Min Aung Hlaing personally concerned over oil and gas payments.

See our web feature, How oil and gas majors bankroll the Myanmar military.

See a briefing paper on the Yetagun project by the Japanese civil society group Mekong Watch: http://www.mekongwatch.org/PDF/Yetagun_BP_Eng.pdf