Beyond the Headlines: US oil giant Chevron announces Myanmar exit

Armed resistance

On February 10, the Myanmar regime admitted in junta-controlled newspapers that its troops had withdrawn from the central police station in the town of Thantlang in Chin State and lost weapons after it was overrun by resistance forces. Two days earlier, a coalition that included the Chin National Army/Front (CNA/F)—an ethnic armed organisation—and the Chinland Defence Force (CDF), a guerrilla group that formed in the aftermath of the February 2021 military coup, had attacked and seized the police station despite the town being under martial law.

The regime said that the CDF led the assault, using both light and heavy weaponry and that many of the police officers who were at the station were injured and forced to retreat after four hours of fighting. It added that troops from another junta outpost stationed on the southern side of Thantlang fired artillery shells in the direction of the resistance forces and that the military also launched airstrikes targeting the clash site to facilitate their troops’ withdrawal. 

The fleeing policemen joined other junta soldiers at the outpost later, according to the military council’s announcement. During the fighting, “some members” of the police were killed and lost light weaponry “that was in need of repair,” the regime said, vowing to recapture the station with more reinforcements. 

CNA spokesperson Salai Htet Ni responded to the junta’s claim that the firearms seized from the police station were in a state of disrepair. 

“There has been no single weapon that we can’t reuse after seizing it from the enemy’s side. We still have to look them over, but nearly every weapon can be used again,” he said. 

Junta affairs

Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim paid an official two-day visit to Thailand from February 9-10. In a meeting with Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha, PM Anwar urged Thailand to take greater action to address the growing crisis in neighbouring Myanmar, which has flared for over two years since a military coup in 2021. 

Citing comments made by Anwar to Prayuth at a joint press conference, Bloomberg quoted him as saying: 

“You are in a better position to express many of our concerns that the internal issue in Myanmar has to be resolved internally but it has ramifications or repercussions into the region.”

Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim (L) and Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha (R) are seen after a meeting at the Government House in Bangkok, Thailand, on February 9, 2023 (EPA)


On February 10, American oil corporation Chevron announced that its assets and holdings in Myanmar would be sold to Canadian company MTI. Chevron said that it had reached an agreement to sell an MTI subsidiary its 41.1 percent interest in the Yadana project, the natural gas from which is used domestically and exported to Thailand. The company did not reveal the amount for which it sold its stake. 

In compliance with the agreement, Chevron said it would depart Myanmar.

According to a report by rights group Justice For Myanmar, MTI Energy Inc, based in Edmonton, Alberta, is itself a subsidiary of oilfield equipment manufacturer Mitey Titan Industries. Its CEO reportedly heads several companies operating in Sub-Saharan Africa. 

The Yadana gas project is Myanmar’s biggest, with the oil and gas industry serving as a primary source of foreign revenue for the junta. Yadana was previously operated by France’s TotalEnergies, which withdrew in 2022. The exit increased Chevron’s stake to 41.1 percent, making it the largest shareholder. The project’s current operator is PTTEP, a Thai state-owned firm, which works alongside the military-controlled Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise. 


Personnel from the Myanmar junta’s “peace talks team” met with the representatives of the New Mon State Party (NMSP) in Naypyitaw on February 13, according to a regime’s announcement in its newspapers. Lt-Gen Yar Pyae led the regime delegation and Nai Aung Min, vice chair of the NMSP, led the ethnic armed organisation’s team. According to the junta, both sides discussed proposals on issues of amending “fundamental sections” of the military-drafted 2008 Constitution. The NMSP signed the now-defunct Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement in 2018, when the country was under the elected civilian government led by State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, later deposed in the 2021 coup.

A photo published by regime mouthpiece Global New Light of Myanmar of the meeting between representatives of the military and the New Mon State Party on February 13

During a similar series of meetings late last month, the military met with another delegation from the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS) headed by its chair, Yawd Serk. They reportedly also discussed amendments to the 2008 charter, among other issues. The regime released a statement after the third day of talks on January 26 declaring that the two groups had signed “final comprehensive peace agreements,” but did not elaborate on what this entailed. 

Armed groups actively resisting the coup regime have denounced any participation by ethnic armed organisations in the junta’s “peace talks” as long as the military continues a nationwide campaign of repression against civilians and political opponents. 

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