Chevron Lobbies to Head Off New Sanctions on Myanmar
22 April 2021 (Updated 16 September 2021)
Chevron has dispatched lobbyists — including some former federal government officials, one of whom appears to have left the State Department just last month — to agencies including the State Department and key congressional offices to warn against any sanctions that might disrupt its operations in Myanmar, according to four people familiar with the lobbying.
The California-based oil and gas giant says sanctions could endanger the long-term viability of a big Myanmar gas field in which it is a partner, risk worsening a humanitarian crisis for people who rely on the operation for power and expose the company’s employees to criminal charges.
Braden Reddall, a spokesman for Chevron, said in a statement that “we condemn the human rights abuses in Myanmar and we support the people of the country on their journey to a modern, peaceful and prosperous democracy.”
Mr. Reddall said Chevron is “a nonoperating partner” in the Yadana field through an affiliate, which he said does not control direct payments to Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise, other than income taxes. “If we do not pay our taxes, we stand in breach of contract, which could put employees at undue risk of criminal charges,” he said.
He suggested that there could be other negative side effects from sanctions for people in the region, including the disruption of energy supplies. Gas from Yadana accounts for about 8 percent of the electricity in Thailand and around half of all electricity in Myanmar’s largest city, Yangon, Mr. Reddall said, adding that the energy “is crucial for homes, schools, hospitals” and communication.