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The Shwe Gas Project is a large-scale natural gas project stretching from the Bay of Bengal in Myanmar to Yunnan Province, China. Operated by South Korean and Indian developers, it’s the country’s largest extractive resource project in terms of gas and oil reserves, potential revenue, and the number of people affected. The natural gas pipeline became operational in 2013, and the oil pipeline in 2014.

Project Impact

The Shwe Gas Project has lead to forced relocation, forced labor, and abuses committed by Myanmar Army battalions providing “security” for the project. Women working on the project have reported sexual abuse and intimidation. Developers and government officials rarely consulted with impacted communities, and there are few to no mechanisms to ensure transparency. Communities near the project saw their lands confiscated with little to no compensation. Land acquisition agreements between developers and local communities were often either non-existent or unjust.

The project has damaged coastal ecosystems, polluted fishing areas, and destroyed farmland. In Kyaukphyu Township, industrial waste has washed into farmlands during monsoon seasons. The project transports gas from the Arakan coast overland through 1,200 km of parallel gas and oil pipelines from near Kyauk Phyu in Rhakine State, Myanmar, to Yunnan Province, China. The gas is sold to a Chinese national oil company, China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC). Together, the pipelines can transport 12 billion cubic meters of gas and 22 million tonnes of crude oil per year, contributing significantly to fossil fuel emissions and climate change. The project also includes offshore natural gas platforms, a crude oil storage facility, an onshore terminal for natural gas, and a deep seaport.

Our Solution

EarthRights participates in a coalition of civil society organizations calling for transparency and accountability for regional investors. On the grassroots level, communities along the pipeline route have organized a diverse resistance to the project, demanding that all operations related to the project be stopped and postponed until the communities’ concerns are addressed. The Shwe Gas Campaign and other groups have called for independent and complete environmental and social impact assessments. Full assessments would be vital tools for communities seeking remedies for abuses committed against them. EarthRights continues to monitor environmental laws and corporate accountability practices in Myanmar.

Additional resources:

EarthRights photo essay:

The open letter condemning Daewoo International’s support to Burma’s military regime: