Construction of various project components
to extract, process, and export the Shwe
gas - as well as oil trans-shipments from
Africa and the Middle East - is now well
underway. Local peoples are losing their land
and fishing grounds without finding new job
opportunities. Workers that have found lowpaying
temporary jobs are exploited and fired for
demanding basic rights. Women face unequal
wages, discrimination in the compensation
process, and vulnerabilities in the growing sex
industry around the project.
Resentment against the so-called Shwe Gas
Project is growing and communities are beginning
to stand up against abuses and exploitation.
Despite threats and risk of arrest, farmers and
local residents are sending complaints to local
authorities. Laborers are striking for better pay
and working conditions and women running
households are demanding electricity.
Burma’s military government is exporting massive world-class natural gas
reserves found off the country’s western coast, sacrificing the country’s future
economic security and dashing chances of electrification and job creation. The
“Shwe” offshore fields will produce trillions of cubic feet of natural gas that
could be used to spur economic and social development in one of the world’s
least developed nations. Instead it will be piped across the country to China,
fuelling abuses and conflict along its path.
Meanwhile active fighting has broken out between
armed resistance groups and government troops
in the area of the pipeline corridor in northern
The Korean, Chinese and Indian companies
involved in this project are taking tremendous
risks with their reputations and investments.
Social tensions, armed conflict, human rights
abuses, and lack of project standards have
raised concerns in investor circles and caused at
least one pension fund to divest from the Korean
fi rm Daewoo International, the main developer of
the gas fields.
Genuine development can only be achieved
when community rights and the environment are
protected, affected peoples share in benefits, and
transparency and accountability mechanisms
are in place. The Shwe Gas and China-Burma
Pipelines projects must be suspended and all
financing frozen or divested until such conditions
Authors and Publishers
The SHWE Gas Movement is concerned with a natural gas pipeline project presently unfolding in Western Burma.
In cooperation with Burma's military junta, a consortium of Indian and Korean corporations are currently exploring gas fields off the coast of Arakan State in Western Burma. Discovered in December 2003, these fields--labeled A-1, or "Shwe" (the Burmese word for gold)--are expected to hold one of the largest gas yields in Southeast Asia. These Shwe fields are destined to become the Burmese military government's largest single source of foreign income.
The Online Burma/Myanmar Library (OBL) is a non-profit online research library mainly in English and Burmese serving academics, activists, diplomats, NGOs, CSOs, CBOs and other Burmese and international actors. It is also, of course, open to the general public.