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ONGC, State Bank of India 'stakeholders' in junta-supported Myanmar-China pipelines

By Henrieke Butijn* 

Some banks are comfortable financing atrocities, as is clear with the financiers that are bankrolling the fossil fuel giants that run the Myanmar-China pipelines. The Myanmar junta, who began an illegal attempted coup in February 2021, receives revenue from oil and gas projects and profits from the Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE) shares in projects.
MOGE is a state agency illegally under military control. The oil & gas sector has earned the Myanmar junta 800 million US dollars in April to July 2022 alone, according to the junta’s own figures. A significant portion of these earnings are from the Shwe gas project and connected Myanmar-China oil and gas pipelines. These projects are run by fossil fuel giants linked to banks covered by the Banking on Climate Chaos report which was published last week.
A junta that has killed over 3,200 people and arrested over 21,000 more since its illegal coup attempt unsurprisingly uses violence to protect the funding that enables its international crimes.
A Banking on Climate Chaos frontline story by Rainforest Action Network, BankTrack, and local partners follows the Myanmar-China oil and gas pipelines which start in Rakhine State (southwest Myanmar) and transverses the country’s heartland to enter Yunnan, China, from northeastern Shan State.
It shows people, who were displaced by the junta, in the path of this pipeline and land soured by pipeline construction, practically destroying farming that sustained communities for generations.
The study reports on entire villages in fear of pipeline explosions and environmental destruction. Military installations monitor farmers everyday, and just last year, the military laid landmines near the pipelines -- making people risk death daily for walking on their own lands.
At its coastal southern hub of another pipeline, on Ma-De Island, the pipeline resulted in land confiscation that affected the majority of residents. Fearing repression by the former military regime, many remained silent. The Myanmar China Pipeline Watch Committee (MCPWC) reports that this pipeline project caused environmental damage in 21 townships. “We know who is to blame for destroying the lives of people in the path of these pipelines", it said.
Among the main shareholders of the Myanmar-China pipelines are CNPC, POSCO, Oil & Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and KOGAS, bankrolling the military junta’s atrocities. In 2022 alone, these four companies together received nearly US$ 7.3 billion in corporate finance, with CNPC receiving the most with US$ 6.7 billion.
Their biggest and most recent financiers are ICBC, Bank of China, Agricultural Bank of China, KB Financial, UBS, Citi, State Bank of India, SMBC and BNP Paribas.
Construction of the pipelines began during Myanmar's military-controlled political and economic reforms, which ended when the military began its illegal attempted coup. Since then, the junta has waged a nationwide campaign of terror, backed by the flow of funds from the Myanmar-China pipelines, and other oil and gas projects.
Brave people are speaking out against the pipeline and how it destroys their way of life; ecologically and politically. They are showing undeniable proof of how the fossil fuel giants and the military junta profits off of their loss of life and lands that banks cannot ignore. 
The story shows a video of the pipeline threatening food sovereignty, people terrified for their lives, and a military attempting to control people for the sake of pipelines and to keep the blood money flowing.
The OECD Guidelines for multinational enterprises and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights both clearly set out that international investors, including banks, have a responsibility to use their leverage to ensure their clients act to prevent or mitigate human rights abuses. 
Big financiers must consider that investing in or financing fossil fuel companies that military juntas rely on for funding violence is not worth whatever the financial gain.
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Climate campaigner & researcher, BankTrack. Source: BankTrack email alert

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