Gas giants' Myanmar exit unlikely to badly damage junta: analysts
24 January 2021
The exit of energy titans TotalEnergies and Chevron from Myanmar's billion-dollar gas industry has been hailed by rights groups, but analysts say it will not significantly weaken the generals and may even enrich the military in the short term.
The withdrawal of TotalEnergies is "a big vote of no confidence in the regime", International Crisis Group's Myanmar senior advisor Richard Horsey told AFP.
But the junta would likely be able to "sell the departing operators' stakes", he added -- which would inject much needed hard currency into the state coffers.
The military would also be able to "attract and negotiate favourable terms and signature payments from operators in jurisdictions beyond the scope of Western sanctions".
"As things stand... Means likely cash windfall for the regime unless ways are found to prevent that, which must be priority," Horsey said on Twitter.
There also remains the question of how easy TotalEnergies and Chevron will find it to exit junta-ruled Myanmar, said Htwe Htwe Thein, citing Norway's Telenor, which announced it was withdrawing in July, but whose exit has been held up by the military.
"Total may suffer the same fate," she said.