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Arakan Oil Watch Press Release

Date: Dec 9, 2011 For Immediate Release:

Shwe Gas Project Operator Daewoo Must Listen to the Local Peoples Voices
Arakan people call for 24 hours of electricity from the Shwe Gas Project in Burmas Arakan State

Arakanese anger is increasing and actions demanding 24 hours of electricity from the Daewooled Shwe Gas project have sparked throughout Arakan cities and rural areas in recent months. Local campaigns featuring t-shirts, posters, stickers, and calendars bearing the message 24 Hours of Electricity Now; We Have the Right to Use Our Gas, have sprung up in local cities across the state. These actions were provoked by Energy Minister U Than Htays October statement in the parliament that the military dominated government has no plans to use Shwe gas from Arakans offshore fields for the Arakan state, and that Shwe gas will be exported to China. Reflecting on the Energy Ministers statement, Dr. Aye Kyaw, an Arakanese Burmese Scholar based in the US said, Gas and other resources from Arakan should bring benefits to all Arakanese. Right now, Arakanese do not get any benefits they deserve. Therefore, we cannot say Burma is a true union as she should be. Though we heard the term Union of Burma, in reality, Burma is just a fake union. Arakan State has one of the largest natural gas fields in Asia. Despite this, Arakan State is ranked the second most impoverished state of Burma by the UNDP in 2011. It is estimated that more than 3 million people living in Arakan have no access to public electricity. Only major cities in Arakan have access to five to six hours of electricity per day, which is provided by private companies. People in Arakan State pay 400-600 Kyat per unit to private companies, while people in Rangoon pay only 25 kyat per unit to the government. Jockai Khaing, Executive Director of Arakan Oil Watch, an NGO that monitors oil and gas projects in Burma, said, Arakan people have the right to own and benefit from the Shwe Gas project. It is important for Daewoo-led consortium to comply with local peoples demand for 24 hours of electricity from the Shwe Gas project. If they cant, they should leave Burma, as its investment project has produced negative results for the people.

The Shwe Gas project has committed human right abuses and environmental damages in Arakan since the beginning of the project implementation in 2004. Fisher folk and farmers livelihoods have been especially negatively affected by the project. The Shwe Gas project not only diverts resources away from the resource-producing Arakan State, but also the rest of Burma. Burma is the only country in the region that cant access 24 hours of electricity, even though it exports large amounts of gas and hydropower to its neighboring countries of Thailand and China. Burmas military dominated government has designed the Shwe Gas project to produce 500 million cubic feet (mcfd) of gas per day for 30 years. While 400 mcfd is planned for transport to China, the remaining 100 mcfd will be supplied to more than fifty factories owned by government, military and sanction-list cronies including arms dealer Tay Zas Htoo Cement Factory, drug lord Lo Hsing Hans Asia World Cement Factory, Zaw Zaws IGE Cement Factory, and Aung Ko Wins Kambawza Cement Factory. Burmas military regime will earn an estimated $29 billion USD from Shwe Gas project exports to China over 30 years starting from 2013. It is not certain that the Shwe Gas export revenue is going to be of benefit for the Arakan State or for the countrys economic development, as the government has no revenue transparency management system and they never disclose how they will utilize the gas export revenue, said Khaing. Current Shwe Gas stakeholders are South Koreas Daewoo International (51%), Korean stateowned KOGAS (8%), Indias ONGC (17%), Indian state-owned GAIL (9%), and Burmas State own MOGE (17%).

Contact: Jockai Khaing (Executive Director) Email: Phone: +66 82 184 1335 Thu Rein (Campaign Coordinator) Email: Phone: +66 88 157 328