France’s TotalEnergies has voiced support for targeted sanctions against gas revenue flows in Myanmar, in a policy shift that campaigners say could have important implications for the finances of Min Aung Hlaing’s military regime.
Human Rights Watch announced the change in tack, which was spelt out in a letter by Patrick Pouyanné, the French energy giant’s chief executive, in response to a letter from the campaign group urging it to stop gas payments to Myanmar military-controlled entities.
TotalEnergies operates Myanmar’s Yadana offshore gasfield, which pays revenues to the state-owned Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE), an entity that has been under control of the junta since last year’s military coup.
“I can confirm that our company has, over the last few months, had exchanges with the French and American authorities concerning the implementation of targeted sanctions on financial flows,” Pouyanné said in the letter dated Tuesday.
The company operates Yadana and its pipelines in partnership with MOGE, US company Chevron, and Thailand’s PTT as junior partners.
Since the coup, campaign groups such as Human Rights Watch and Myanmar’s large anti-military protest movement have called for the companies as well as the US and French governments to support targeted sanctions against junta-controlled companies.
TotalEnergies had previously argued that imposing sanctions on MOGE would harm ordinary people in Myanmar through jeopardising electricity supplies and the safety of its employees in the country.