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Unocal vows expansion: lead story,
- Subject: Unocal vows expansion: lead story,
- From: cd@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Fri, 31 Jan 1997 01:29:00
Subject: Unocal vows expansion: lead story, IHT, 31 Jan
One and All,
Suu Kyi's American University Message appeal for world boycott reached
Michael Richardson of the IHT.
The following is from Friday, January 31 International Herald Tribune,
by Michael Richardson, chief Asia correspondent. The story runs the full
six columns across at the top of the page with the header
" Unocal Expands Burma Investment as Others Pull Out Over Rights ".
How so you like that, " Others ". A rather poor show of editorial
acumen in a title by the IHT desk editors. PepsiCo, a 30 billion dollar
company, is not just an-Other ". So, seasoned veterans and green
volunteers, we are headed for a showdown wotj Unocal and TOTAL and
"Others " until Suu Kyi and the Burmese people get recognized for what
they are - like Madeleine vows to "Tell it like it is. " Richardson
should get his facts straight - not " hundreds ", but some 10 000 people
were killed, injured or imprisoned in the 1988 crackdown . Write the
No matter, Richardsons story is good, and cites Suu Kyi's call at
American Univeristy : " Daw Aung San Suu Kyi called for a worldwide
boycott of companies doing business in Burma. "
Richardson: " ...American human rights activists, who have already filed
two cases against Unocal in US courts to try to end its involvement in
the pipeline project, were likely to intensify theier efforts to force
the remaining Western petroleum companaies out of Burma. "
Just send off replies to two Japanese organisations, including NHK doing
spot on FBC & Burma stories now, and hundreds of latest stories up on
the Euro-Burmanet server.
Batten the hatches and all hands on deck for 1997! (Sending this before
I catch a plane to DC)
Singapore -- Unocal Corp., the largest American investor in Burma, said
Thursday that it was expanding its petroleum business there despite
strong concern in the United States aboutt human rights abuses in the
country and a law that empowers President Bill Clinton to ban new
investment there if the problem worsens.
Shortly before Unocal announced its expansion, PepsiCo Inc. this week
became the latest American company to pull out of Burma in responose to
pressure from shareholders, consumers and human rights activits.
Unocal said its Unocal Myanmar Offshore Co. subsidiary and TOTAL myanmar
Exploration & Production Ltd., a unit of TOTAL SA of France, had signed
a production-sharing contract with state-owned Myanmar (sic) Oil & Gas
Enterprise to begin exploring for oil and natural gas in a new area in
the Adaman Sea.
The area covers 11,068 square kilometers (4,427 square miles) and abuts
the zone where Unocal and TOTAL found the giant Yadana gas field.
The new contract expands a relationship in which Unocal and TOTAL are
partners with state-owned companies in Burma and Thailand in a $1.2
billion project to pump gas from the Yadana field to Thailand via an
undersea and overland pipeline.
TOTAL has a 31 percent stake in the project, Unocal has 28 percent, PTT
Exploration & Production Co. of Thailand has 26 percent, and Myanmar
(sic) Oil & Gas has 15 percent.
The project -- which accounts for nearly one-quarter of the $5.27
billion in foreign investment reported by Rangoon since 1988 -- has
become a major focus for human rights groups.
Thailand, which needs to gas to generate electric power, will pay $400
million a year for the pipeline supply, which is to start inmid-1988.
Rangoon and the oil companies will split the revenue.
Washington has repeatedly condemned the Burmese military grovernment for
what Madeleine Albright, the new US secretary of state, last month
called " a kind of rolling repression in which small steps forward
alternate wioth crackdowns and episodes of intimidation and violence "
against democratic forces.
Myanmar is the name given to Burma by the State Law and Order
Restoration Council, which seized power in 1988 after crushing a
pro-democracy uprising. Hundreds of people were killed, injured or
imprisoned in the crackdown.
" We are happy to expand our opportunities in Myanmar ", John
Vandermeer, Unocal's vice president for new ventures in South and South
east Asia, said. "This step reflects Unocal's strategic focus of
connecting growing energy markets to vitally needed energy resources.
Carol Scott, a company spokesman, said in Rangoon that the
gas-development project was creating jobs, raising living standards and
bringing new opportunities for the 35,000 people lving in the area where
the pipeline crossed Burma en route to Thailand.
" We believe that keeping the door open to foreign business is the way
to promote change in Burma ", she said.
But analysts said Burmese opposition groups and American human rights
activists, who have already filed two cases against Unocal in US courts
to try to end its involvement in the pipeline project, were likely to
intensify theier efforts to force the remaining Western petroleum
companaies out of Burma.
Besides TOTAL and Unocal, Texaco Inc. and Atlantic Richfield Co (Arco,
sic) of the United States, and Premier Oil of Britain maintain
operations in Burma.
Mr. Clinton signed into law in September a bill allowing him to impose
sanctions including a ban on new investment by US companies if
repression in Burma worsens or if Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel peace
laureate and leader of the opposition National League for Democracy, is
detained or placed under house arrest again.
In a speech read by her husband at the American University in Washington
this week, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi called for a worldwide boycott of
companies doing business in Burma.
" Investment that only goes to enrigh an already wealthy elite bent on
monopoloizing both economic and political power cannot contribute
towards equality and justice, the fondation stones for a sound
democracy, " she said. " Please use your liberty to promote ours. "
US companies that have vut links with Burma in the past couple of years
include Eastman Kodak Co., Walt Disney Co., Hewlett-Packard Co., Liz
Claiborne Inc and Oshkosh B'Gosh Inc. The brewers Heineken NV of the
Netherlands and Carlsberg AS of Denmark have also pulled out. PepsiCo
said Tuesday it had stopped selling its soft-drink concentratae to a
bottling franchise in Burma, ending its business ties with the country.
PepsiCo cut back its presence in April 1996 when it said it would sell
its 40 percent stake in a bottling joint venture.