On May 2, ENEOS Holdings announced their withdrawal from Myanmar.
The ENEOS statement mentioned consideration of Myanmar’s “current situation, including the social issues”, but made no reference to the company’s human rights and environmental responsibilities.
While we cautiously welcome ENEOS’ belated withdrawal from a project that has been financing the Myanmar military, Mekong Watch, FoE Japan, and Justice for Myanmar (JFM) remain concerned whether disengagement will be conducted in a responsible manner.
We strongly urge ENEOS and its partners to responsibly disengage, with transparency and through consultation with local communities and civil society stakeholders.
In exiting Myanmar, ENEOS and its international partners must take appropriate steps to close the field, which is predicted to be near depletion. That would ensure future revenues do not flow to the Myanmar military, and that continued human rights and environmental impacts are avoided.
While under control of the illegal military junta, the Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE) cannot be trusted to close the gas field in an environmentally responsible way, which is likely to be costly. The Japanese investors, which have profited from the Yetagun gas project must therefore ensure the gas field is responsibly closed and remediate any negative social and environmental impacts.
ENEOS’ is invested in the Yetagun gas project through its consolidated subsidiary, Nippon Oil Exploration (Myanmar), which also has investment from the Japanese Government and Mitsubishi Corporation.
We call on the Japanese government and shareholders of ENEOS and Mitsubishi Corporation to play an active role to ensure responsible disengagement and decommissioning of the Yetagun gas project.
In January, a coalition of Mekong Watch, FOE Japan and Justice For Myanmar, with a coalition of NGOs, wrote to 125 institutional investors of four Japanese companies that continue to finance problematic projects in Myanmar, including investors in ENEOS and Mitsubishi. Now is a crucial time for investors to engage.
The Japanese government has a particularly important role to play, through its state duty to protect human rights under the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
Yuka Kiguchi, Director of Mekong Watch, stated, “ENEOS statements do not disclose important information such as whether gas production will continue after the withdrawal of these companies, or how the withdrawing companies will take responsibility for decommissioning. The withdrawal must be done with consideration for human rights and the environment, and the withdrawing companies must be held accountable to the people of Myanmar and the international community.”
Yadanar Maung, Justice For Myanmar spokesperson, commented, “ENEOS Holdings has ended its business with the terrorist Myanmar military junta, after sustained pressure from the people of Myanmar and activists around the world. It is now time for ENEOS to show fulfil their human rights and environmental responsibilities by responsibly exiting and decommissioning the field. In doing so, ENEOS must closely consult with the National Unity Government and key stakeholders, including communities in the pipeline area. The Myanmar junta is a terrorist organisation and not the government of Myanmar. ENEOS must stop referring to them as a “government” in their statements, which legitimises the junta.”
Yuka Kiguchi, Mekong Watch: email@example.com
Yadanar Maung, Justice For Myanmar: firstname.lastname@example.org