Chevron's recently assembled activist Board of Directors is moving the oil giant to suspend payments from a gas joint venture involving an offshore gas pipeline in the Yadana fields in southwest Myanmar that would have reached Myanmar's military junta. French energy major Total has joined Chevron in shutting down the money flows to the junta.
Myanmar has been in chaos since the army overthrew the elected government and detained its leader Aung San Suu Kyi, and the junta has responded with brutal force to daily protests, marches and strikes nationwide in support of the ousted civilian administration.
In a statement, Total said "in light of the unstable context in Myanmar" after a joint proposal with Chevron shareholders at the meeting of the Moattama Gas Transportation Company voted to suspend all cash distributions.
Total is the biggest shareholder with 31.24%, while Chevron holds 28%. Thailand's PTTEP and Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise hold the remainder.
Both oil majors are taking major political stands that would have been difficult to imagine without the shareholder revolt of last month:
"Total condemns the violence and human rights abuses occurring in Myanmar and reaffirms that it will comply with any decision that may be taken by the relevant international and national authorities, including applicable sanctions issued by the EU or the U.S. authorities," the company said in a prepared statement.
For its part, Chevron said: "The humanitarian crisis in Myanmar requires a collective response to improve the welfare of the people of Myanmar. Any actions should be carefully considered to ensure the people of Myanmar are not further disadvantaged by unintended and unpredictable consequences of well-intentioned decisions."
Total said it was continuing to maintain the production of the Yadana gas field "so as not to disrupt the electricity supply that is vital to the local populations of Myanmar and Thailand.