TotalEnergies unveils its new logo at a ceremony in France in May 2021 (AFP)

TotalEnergies to leave Myanmar over human rights abuses

The French energy giant pulls out after expressing support for targeted sanctions against Myanmar’s state-run oil and gas firm


French oil giant TotalEnergies on Friday said it would withdraw from Myanmar over “worsening” human rights abuses committed since the country’s military took power in a February 2021 coup.

“The situation, in terms of human rights and more generally the rule of law… has led us to reassess the situation and no longer allows TotalEnergies to make a sufficiently positive contribution in the country,” the company said in a statement.

The move comes shortly after TotalEnergies told advocacy group Human Rights Watch that it supported targeted sanctions against the state-owned Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise. Activists have long called for sanctions against MOGE, which came under the military’s control after the coup, but such measures were initially resisted by TotalEnergies and US company Chevron.

“The fact that both TotalEnergies and human rights groups now support sanctions on Myanmar’s gas revenues leaves the US and European Union without any excuses to delay action,” said John Sifton, HRW’s Asia advocacy director.

The EU is expected to impose a fourth round of sanctions next month on the one-year anniversary of the coup, with officials previously saying action against MOGE was being considered.

More stories

Latest Issue

Stories in this issue
Myanmar enters 2021 with more friends than foes
The early delivery of vaccines is one of the many boons of the country’s geopolitics, but to really take advantage, Myanmar must bury the legacy of its isolationist past.
Will the Kayin BGF go quietly?
The Kayin State Border Guard Force has come under intense pressure from the Tatmadaw over its extensive, controversial business interests and there’s concern the ultimatum could trigger fresh hostilities in one of the country’s most war-torn areas.

Support our independent journalism and get exclusive behind-the-scenes content and analysis

Stay on top of Myanmar current affairs with our Daily Briefing and Media Monitor newsletters.

Sign up for our Frontier Fridays newsletter. It’s a free weekly round-up featuring the most important events shaping Myanmar