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The Yadana Pipeline
The Yadana Gas Project in military-ruled Burma is one of the world’s most controversial natural gas development projects. Transporting gas through a pipeline from Burma’s Andaman Sea to Thailand, the project is operated by Total (France), Chevron (US), PTTEP (Thailand), and the Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE). Since the project’s beginnings in the early 1990s, it has been marred by serious and widespread human rights abuses committed by pipeline security forces on behalf of the companies, including forced labor, land confiscation, forced relocation, rape, torture, murder. Many of these abuses continue today.
ERI has been conducting continuous fact-finding in the Yadana Area since 1994, producing reports, conducting advocacy and bringing groundbreaking lawsuits against the companies involved in this natural resource development project. ERI aims to support victims of abuses to seek justice for harms they have suffered and improve local and natural impacts of this project.
On this page you will find links to all of ERI’s reports related to past and present earth rights abuses along the Yadana Pipeline; links to information about the Doe v. Unocal lawsuit against Unocal for serious abuses along the pipeline; ERI reports on forced labor and foreign investment in Burma; ERI communications with Unocal, Chevron, and Total; Statements by Unocal, Chevron, and Total; ERI statements concerning foreign investment and human rights in Burma; ERI submissions to international organizations; ERI submissions to national bodies; and third-party communications with Chevron, Unocal, and Total.
ERI Reports on the Pipeline:
- Energy Insecurity
- Total Impact 2.0
- Total Impact
- Getting It Wrong
- The Human Cost of Energy
- Total Denial Continues
- Total Denial
- Fueling Abuse (4-page brochure)
- Destructive Engagement: A Decade of Foreign Investment in Burma
- Another Yadana: The Shwe Natural Gas Pipeline Project
ERI Reports on Forced Labor and Foreign Investment in Burma:
- Valued Less Than A Milk Tin
- We Cannot Refuse
- We Are Not Free to Work for Ourselves: Forced Labor and Other Human Rights Abuses in Burma
The following contracts entered the public record through the partial trial of ERI's groundbreaking lawsuit Doe v. Unocal and were released publicly by ERI in May 2010. The contracts released are the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) governing the Project, which was Unocal's Exhibit 1001 at trial; the Production Sharing Contract (PSC), Exhibit 1002; the Export Gas Sales Agreement (EGSA), Exhibit 1010; and the Export Gas Transportation Agreement (EGTA), Exhibit 1013. The MOU and the PSC are the basic governing contracts for the project, which was originally known as the Moattama Gas Project. The EGSA is an agreement governing sales of Yadana gas to PTT, the Thai company that buys the gas at the Thai-Burma border, and the EGTA is an agreement governing the pipeline itself and an entity called the Moattama Gas Transportation Company (MGTC), which the partners own. The MOU and PSC predated Unocal's participation in the Yadana Project, but Unocal signed onto these contracts when it became a partner. ERI believes that these contracts still apply to the project, and that Chevron has simply been substituted for Unocal.
- 1001 Memorandum of Understanding (PDF)
- 1002 Production Sharing Contract (PDF)
- 1010 Export Gas Sales Agreement (PDF)
- 1013 Export Gas Transportation Agreement (PDF)
Communications with Chevron/Unocal:
- In a September 27, 2007, letter to Chevron CEO Dave O'Reilly, ERI Executive Director Ka Hsaw Wa called on Chevron to use its influence "to help prevent mass bloodshed" as the Burmese military began attacking monks and other peaceful protestors.
- On July 22, 2005, AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Richard Trumka wrote to Chevron CEO Dave O'Reilly noting that acquiring Unocal's stake in the Yadana Project would expose Chevron to significant reputational and legal risks due to the associated human rights abuses.
- On August 9, 2005, Trumka followed up with a letter to Chevron's Public Policy Committee Chair Sam Nunn, again expressing concern that "the Yadana pipeline is an unacceptable legal and political risk."
Statements by Unocal/Chevron:
- While Unocal maintained a substantial website on its operations in Burma (Myanmar), Chevron's website includes virtually no mentions of Burma or the Yadana Project. Unocal's old website is archived here.
- Chevron's statements during the September and October, 2007 brutal crackdown against peaceful demonstrators in Burma -- here and here.
ERI Statements Concerning Foreign Investment and Human Rights in Burma:
- On April 14-15, 2009, ERI’s Matthew Smith delivered a presentation about the human rights impacts of the Yadana Gas Project in Jakarta, Indonesia.
- On November 15, 2007, ERI's Matthew Smith published an op-ed in the Bangkok Post, "The Hunt for Energy at Any Cost: The politics of doing business with a brutal regime."
- On March 13, 2008, as the US State Department released its annual report on human rights in Burma, ERI renewed its calls from Chevron and other multinationals to respect human rights in Burma.
- On Human Rights Day, December 10, 2007, ERI called attention to the fact that human rights abuses in Burma, especially in connection with the Yadana Project, were continuing.
- During the crackdown on monks and other peaceful demonstrators in Burma in September and October 2007, ERI called on Chevron and other companies to use their influence to stop the violence.
- During the crackdown, ERI organized an online petition calling on Chevron to use its influence to stop the killing.
- On September 15, 2007, ERI's Matthew Smith and Naing Htoo published an op-ed in the Bangkok Post, "An industry blind to people's tears," about the oil & gas industry in Burma.
- On April 11, 2005, as Chevron was considering acquiring Unocal, ERI released a statement calling on Chevron to stay out of the Yadana Project and pointing out that human rights in the pipeline region continue today.
Submissions to International Organizations:
- To the United Nations Special Representative to the Secretary General on Human Rights, Transnational Corporations, and Other Business Enterprises:
- Earth Rights Abuses by Corporations in Burma, Collective Summary and Recommendations (November 10, 2005). This submission addressed business-related earth rights abuses in Burma that have been documented by ERI since the early 1990s, with a focus on the Yadana and Yetagun pipeline regions.
- Mechanisms for Improving Access to Justice for Victims of Human Rights Abuses by Corporations (March 2008). ERI’s most recent submission largely focused on cases concerning human rights abuses litigated in US Courts, including Doe v. Unocal.
- To the International Labour Organization: ERI's Report to the International Labour Organization on Forced Labor in Burma (June 4, 2001). A collection of interviews documenting forced labor in Burma, including in Tenasserim Division, was submitted to the ILO in 2001.
- On October 11, 2001, ERI's Marco Simons testified before the Development Committee of the European Parliament on abuses associated with the Yadana and Yetagun pipelines.
Submissions to National Bodies:
- Testimony at the hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law (September 24, 2008). Testimony regarding Chevron's complicity in human rights abuses perpetrated by public or private security forces in Nigeria, Burma, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Indonesia.
- Testimony at the hearing of the Development Committee of the European Parliament (October 11, 2001). Testimony regarding the benefits to Premier Oil Total from human rights abuses in Burma, focusing on abuses in the pipeline area.
Third-Party Communications with Chevron, Unocal, and Total - Letters and Statements:
- TOTAL Annual General Meeting Disrupted by Burmese Activists (May 16, 2008)
- Time for US’s Chevron to Leave Burma (Shwe Gas Bulletin, Volume 3, Issue 3; March 2008). In this editorial, Arakan Oil Watch, part of the Shwe Gas Movement, calls on Chevron to leave Burma, citing Chevron’s continued support of the military regime through the Yadana project.
- USW Oil Workers Call on Chevron, Total to Withdraw their Investment in Burma (November 9, 2007). The United Steelworkers issued a statement in late 2007 calling on Chevron and Total to withdraw from the Yadana project, citing concerns over the continued use of forced labor.
- Letter to Chevron from Social Investors (October 25, 2007). A letter written to Chevron management from several long time investors, requested a meeting regarding concerns over Chevron’s relationship with Burma’s military regime and its investment in the Yadana project.
- Chevron’s Pipeline is the Burmese Regime’s Lifeline (Amy Goodman, October 8, 2007). Commentary on Chevron’s support of Burma’s military regime through the Yadana project, even in the midst of the 2007 uprisings and subsequent crackdown.
- Free Burma Movement to Chevron Texaco: Get out of Burma! (Burma Forum Los Angeles). US-based Burma activists call on Chevron to withdraw from Burma, citing human rights abuses associated with the Yadana project.
Chevron Shareholder Meetings:
- At the 2009 Annual Shareholder Meeting: Reports, Resistance, and Resolutions Make Shareholders Question Oil Giant's Vitality
- At the 2008 Annual Shareholder Meeting, several shareholder resolutions addressing human rights and environmental issues were voted on by Chevron's shareholders.