August 11, 2021, Myanmar: Brunei’s state-owned oil company is in business with the Myanmar military junta controlled Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE) and crony conglomerate IGE Group, in a further sign of the unsuitability of Brunei’s second foreign minister Dato Erywan Pehin Yusof’s appointment as ASEAN Special Envoy to Myanmar.
BRUNEI Energy Myanmar, a company fully owned by the Brunei state, has a share in three oil and gas fields that were awarded in 2014 under the Myanmar military’s proxy government led by the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP). BRUNEI Energy’s local business partner is the IGE Group, owned by the son of former USDP Secretary 1 and minister Aung Thaung. The three blocks are I0R-5 in Htantabin, IOR-7 in Shwepyitha and EP-1 in Kyaukkyi-Mindon, Magwe Region.
Justice For Myanmar spokesperson Yadanar Maung says: “Brunei’s business with the Myanmar junta and its notorious cronies makes a mockery of their second foreign minister’s role as ASEAN Special Envoy. Dato Erywan Pehin Yusof cannot be considered a neutral mediator when he is also representing Brunei’s business interests with the junta and its cronies. These concerns add to the serious problems already raised by civil society over the appointment of Erywan Yusof, including a lack of transparency and a failure to consult with Myanmar stakeholders, namely the National Unity Government and ethnic armed organisations. We call on the UN to urgently intervene in the humanitarian and human rights crisis created by the military’s attempted coup and campaign of terror. Relying on ASEAN will only cause more tragedy for the Myanmar people.”
Update (12 August, 2021): JFM received a tip that BRUNEI Energy has suspended business in Myanmar and that blocks IOR-5, IOR-7 and EP-1 have been returned. According to the source, BRUNEI Energy and their partners still owe commitment fees to MOGE of around US$20 million for EP-1 and IOR-5, which would benefit the Myanmar junta. Before and after publication, JFM emailed Brunei's Ministry of Finance and Economy to confirm the status of BRUNEI Energy's business in Myanmar, but did not receive a response.
Note to editors
See Justice For Myanmar’s web feature on Brunei’s business in Myanmar here: www.justiceformyanmar.org/stories/bruneis-conflict-of-interest-muddies-role-of-asean-special-envoy
Justice For Myanmar, a group of covert activists campaigning for justice and accountability for the people of Myanmar, is calling for an end to military business and for federal democracy and a sustainable peace.
For more information please contact: