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    Woodside to withdraw from Myanmar [Update]

Summary

The Australian company's decision comes days after TotalEnergies announced its exit from the country citing the deteriorating human rights situation. [Update clarifies Chevron's exit from Myanmar]

by: Shardul Sharma

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Woodside to withdraw from Myanmar [Update]

Australian energy company Woodside has decided to withdraw from its interests in Myanmar citing the deteriorating human rights situation in the country, it said on January 27 in a statement.

Woodside has operated in Myanmar since 2013 and holds a 40% participating interest in the A-6 joint venture as joint operator and participating interests in exploration permits AD-1 and AD-8.

The company had previously announced that it was placing all Myanmar business decisions under review following the state of emergency declared in February 2021 and the deteriorating human rights situation in the country.

In 2021 Woodside completed the relinquishment of exploration permits covering offshore Blocks AD-2, AD-5 and A-4 and is in the process of withdrawing from Blocks AD-6, AD-7 and A-7. Woodside will now begin arrangements to formally exit Blocks AD-1 and AD-8, the A-6 joint venture and the A-6 production sharing contract held with the state-owned Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise.

The non-cash expense associated with the decision to withdraw from Blocks A-6 and AD-1 is expected to impact 2021 net profit after tax (NPAT) by approximately $138mn. This is in addition to the $71mn exploration and evaluation expense for Block AD-7. These costs will be excluded from underlying NPAT for the purposes of calculating the dividend, it said.

Woodside CEO Meg O’Neill said while Woodside had hoped to develop the A-6 gas resources with its joint venture participants and deliver much-needed energy to the Myanmar people, there was no longer a viable option for the company to continue its activities.

“Woodside has been a responsible foreign investor in Myanmar since 2013 with our conduct guided by the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and other relevant international standards,” she said. “Given the ongoing situation in Myanmar, we can no longer contemplate Woodside’s participation in the development of the A-6 gas resources, nor other future activities in-country.” 

France's TotalEnergies and US major Chevron have also withdrawn from Myanmar.