12 May 2021
Thank you for your letter regarding the operations of Chevron’s affiliate, Unocal Myanmar Offshore Co. Ltd. (UMOCL), and its investment in the Yadana Project in Myanmar.
I share your concern about the instability in Myanmar and the devastating impact it is having on the country’s citizens as they continue to strive to become a modern, peaceful and prosperous nation. I want to be very clear that in weighing our response to the ongoing crisis, the welfare of employees and the people of Myanmar are our utmost priority.
We spelled out our position in a cross-sector public statement released on February 19 expressing deep concern about the developments in Myanmar. In the letter, we reiterated our commitment to foster a business environment that respects human rights and to work hand in hand with local business partners that share the same approach.
For more than 25 years we have made significant investments in health care, economic development and renewable energy programs that benefit the people of Myanmar. Our social investment programs have reached more than a million people in Central Myanmar. In the current situation we are working with civil society, governments, and NGOs to provide additional humanitarian assistance to vulnerable communities. We have also contributed to a multitude of other programs which are detailed in our Responsible Investment in Myanmar report.
Additionally, the Yadana Project provides a critical and stable supply of energy to communities in Southeast Asia. The gas delivered to Myanmar is used to generate 50 percent of Yangon’s electricity and powers homes, schools, hospitals and telecommunications networks, and is also crucial to supplying energy for the people of Thailand.
We are working with the project operator, a Total, S.A. affiliate, to ensure safe and reliable energy for the people of Myanmar during this time of crisis. The Yadana Project works with the Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE), the Myanmar national oil company, which is also the primary regulator for the industry. The export pipeline payments and dividend distributions are paid to MOGE and are not within UMOCL’s control. UMOCL pays income taxes through MOGE, as required by law. If we do not pay our taxes, we stand in breach of contract, which could put employees at undue risk of criminal charges.
We continue to monitor the complex and fluid situation in Myanmar. The operator, Total, has announced it will discontinue new projects and drilling but continue to produce gas. We support that position. If the supply of gas from the project is interrupted, this would cut a lifeline to millions of people. Businesses, hospitals, and everyday life could be without power during a pandemic, further exacerbating the already difficult conditions. We believe it is best to continue operations to support the people of Myanmar who rely on the much-needed energy and to protect our loyal employees.
We remain focused on upholding our human rights policy, including our support for the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights. I assure you we will continue to monitor the situation and engage with business partners, government and non-government organizations in working towards a peaceful and beneficial future for the people of Myanmar. I welcome your interest and engagement on this critical issue.
Response's to the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre's questions:
1.How long has your company been operating or investing in Myanmar?
Please provide information on the nature of these investments and which geographic areas and communities they affect.
- Chevron’s affiliate, Unocal Myanmar Offshore Co. Ltd. (UMOCL), is a long-term partner in Myanmar. Since 1992, UMOCL has held a non-operated minority interest in a production sharing contract (PSC) for the production of natural gas from the Yadana Field (operated by Total), within Blocks M5 and M6, in the Andaman Sea. UMOCL also holds a minority interest in an associated pipeline company, also operated by Total.
- A map is available on page 2 of our Myanmar Responsible Investment Report
2.What policies and procedures do you have to ensure that your company’s operations will not directly cause or contribute to human rights abuses as the situation in Myanmar unfolds (this includes potential violence and harassment to your workers and the communities where your investments are situated)? If your company comes across allegations of rights violations, will such information be made available?
- We are deeply concerned about the unfolding crisis in Myanmar. Chevron’s Human Rights Policy commits to respecting human rights as set out in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Labor Organization (ILO) Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work and adheres to the principles set out in the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights and the International Finance Corporation’s Performance Standards. We condemn human rights abuses. Chevron will continue to work with its business partners, government and Non-Governmental Organizations to foster a business environment that respects human rights
- We have accounted for all local employees in Myanmar. We do not disclose employee details.
Please feel free to provide us with a word or pdf file, or a link to these policies and procedures. In recognition of the highly evolving nature of the situation, please make sure that the documents that you will be sharing with us contains the date it was issued.
- Please see pages 3 – 6 of the following Myanmar Responsible Investment Report
3.Are there immediate steps that your company has taken or is prepared to take to ensure that your company continues to respect human rights?
- Chevron continues to engage with stakeholders, including experts in the field of human rights.
- These channels enable us to maintain an open dialogue and collaboratively work together to understand the role of business in addressing real-time challenges. For example, Chevron representatives have engaged with the U.S. Ambassador to Burma and other U.S. embassy officials, as well as peers through business associations such as the US ASEAN Business Council and the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) Myanmar, to better understand local needs.
- The situation is fluid, and we are continuously evaluating the full picture, including the corresponding impact of our actions on our employees and the employees of joint venture and social investment partners. We are assessing the human rights impacts of any potential course of action.
4.What other commitments to all stakeholders can you publicly share as regards the following: respect for the rule of law and democracy, freedom of association and collective bargaining, freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly (including your company’s policy on workers who join protests), wages, job security, anti-discrimination, non-retaliation, and others?
- Chevron’s Human Rights Policy commits to respecting human rights as set out in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Labor Organization (ILO) Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work and adheres to the principles set out in the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights and the International Finance Corporation’s Performance Standards.