Thai energy company PTTEP has said it will take over the running of Myanmar’s vital Yadana gas field following the withdrawal of global giants Chevron and TotalEnergies in January.
The American and French firms said they would pull out of Myanmar following growing international pressure from human rights groups to cut financial ties with the junta after last year’s military coup.
The Yadana gas field in the Andaman Sea provides electricity to Myanmar and Thailand, one of a number of gas projects that Human Rights Watch says make up Naypyidaw’s single largest source of foreign currency revenue, generating more than $1 billion annually.
“After the decision of TotalEnergies to withdraw from Yadana project, PTTEP has thoroughly considered to take a step as the successor operator in order to ensure the no interruption of natural gas supply,” PTT Exploration and Production Public Company (PTTEP) said in a statement Monday.
PTTEP — a unit of Thailand’s majority state-owned energy firm PTT — will take control of operations from July 20, saying the “continuity in gas production and preventing disruption to energy demand” was of utmost importance.
The field accounts for roughly 50 percent of Myanmar’s gas demand, PTTEP said, and around 11 percent of Thailand’s.
In recent weeks, Myanmar has been hit by a series of power outages — forcing people in commercial capital Yangon to queue for water — with the junta blaming rising gas prices and attacks by anti-coup fighters on infrastructure.
The junta has interests in large swathes of the country’s economy, including oil and gas.
Other international firms — including British American Tobacco and French renewable energy firm Voltalia — have also pulled back from Myanmar since February’s coup last year.
More than 1,600 people have died in the subsequent military crackdown and 11,000 have been arrested, according to a local monitoring group.
© Agence France-Presse