The SHWE Gas Movement: For a Sustainable Future in a Free and Democratic Burma

For a Sustainable Future in a Free and Democratic Burma



  About SHWE

    SHWE Gas Movement

    The Shwe Project

      Chronology of Events


    Geopolitics of Gas          

    Campaign Goals

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Chronology of events related to the Shwe Project

January 6, 2005

ONGC Videsh Limited announces gas in the first appraisal well in the Shwe gas field in Block A-1, Myanmar, 7.8 kilometers away from the first exploratory well, where the Consortium discovered gas in January last year. The Consortium claims that it will drill additional exploratory and appraisal wells at the Shwe Phyu and Ngwe prospects simultaneously using one more rig from late January 2005. (21)

November 10, 2004

Exploratory drilling starts in well Shwe-2 in the A-1 Block.(20)

November 10, 2004

The International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) claims that forced labour on construction of roads and military barracks continues to be imposed routinely and includes evidence of forced labour in Rakhine and Chin States.(19)

November 2004

The ILO interim liaison officer in Burma, Richard Horsey reports to the ILO Governing body in Geneva that despite SPDC making forced labour illegal in Burma, "To date, no official in Myanmar had been found guilty of imposing forced labour, even though it was recognized that the practice continued. Even more concerning was the fact that in some cases action had been taken by the authorities against complainants.the current state of affairs would inevitably cast doubt on the credibility of the Committee and its work, and on the political will of the authorities to seriously address the problem." (18)

October 17, 2004

SPDC's Prime Minister and head of the military intelligence, Gen Khin Nyunt is purged by the head of the SPDC, Gen Than Shwe and much of the Khin Nyunt controlled intelligence apparatus is immediately dismantled. (16) Although few major changes are expected on the whole, a more hard line approach with even poorer diplomacy skills is likely.

October 5, 2004

Daewoo and ONGC Videsh sign an MOU to jointly explore gas in the A-3 Block off the Arakan coast in the Bay of Bengal. (22)

October 2004

A consortium comprising two Chinese and one Singaporean companies signs a production-sharing contract (PSC) with MOGE for gas and oil exploration rights in the onshore Block M (7,760 sq-km) in Kyauk Pru Township, Arakan State. (17)

June 2004

The ILO interim liaison officer in Burma, Richard Horsey reports to the ILO Governing body in Geneva that, "Forced labour continues to be exacted in many parts of the country, mainly by the army. No person responsible for imposing forced labour has ever been prosecuted or sentenced under the relevant provision of the Penal Code." (14)

April 20, 2004

Daewoo International announces that it is to invest US$54 million of a $90 million budget July 2004-June 2005. This would include six appraisal borings and two exploration drillings and a project office with 30 staff. [1] 

April 15, 2004

The United Nations Commission for Human Rights, releases a resolution that "Expresses its grave concern..

d/  Extrajudicial killings, rape and other forms of sexual violence persistently carried out by members of the armed forces, continuing use of torture, renewed instances of political arrests and continuing detentions, including of prisoners whose sentences have expired, prisoners held incommunicado while awaiting trial, forced relocation, destruction of livelihoods and confiscations of land by the armed forces, forced labour, including child labour, trafficking of persons, denial of freedom of assembly, association, expression and movement, discrimination and persecution on the basis of religious or ethnic background, wide disrespect for the rule of law and lack of independence of the judiciary, unsatisfactory conditions of detention, systematic use of child soldiers and violations to the rights to an adequate standard of living, such as the rights to food, medical care and education."   (13)

February 2004

Daewoo International signs a Production Sharing Contract (PSC) with the regime for exploration rights in the A-3 block. (12)

January 15, 2004

Daewoo International announces that it has found gas in the A-1 block, naming the well Shwe-1, describing it as a 58 metre wide layer of natural gas found at a depth of 2,930-2,988m. Daewoo estimates that Shwe-1 holds 4-6 trillion cubic feet of gas and that exploration of two nearby regions may be able to secure additional 7-12 tcf of gas. (1)

November 21, 2003

The offshore drilling machine "The Energy Searcher," owned by Norwegian company Northern Offshore, starts drilling in A-1. (23

June 2003

"In Burma, on any given day, several hundred thousand men, women, children

 and elderly are forced to work against their will by the country's military rulers. Forced labour can include building army camps, roads, bridges, railroads etc. Refusal to work may lead to being detained, tortured, raped or killed."

Statement by the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) (11)

May 30, 2003

A convoy carrying Aung San Suu Kyi and other senior NLD leaders, is attacked by military sponsored thugs in Dapayin, northern Burma, possibly killing up to 70 people. Aung San Su Kyi and party secretary Tin Oo are  put under "protective custody" and all senior NLD officers are placed under house arrest. Party offices are closed and the party's phone lines are cut. (10)

February 5, 2003

A statement by the Arakan Independence Alliance in response to the Daewoo-led consortiums plans to start exploratory drilling later in the year.

"It is feared that, when these projects are materialized, it will cause a lot of trouble for the local people, both in Arakan and Chin State, particularly with the increase in deployment of Burmese armed forces under the pretext of guarding the pipeline, increased forced relocation, forced labor, summery execution, torture and other human rights violations, destruction of forests and natural environment will occur." (9)


Following considerable pressure from shareholders, consumers and the international community, British Premier Oil sells all its stakes in Burma, mainly the Yetagun gas field and pipeline.(8)

January 2002

Part Indian government owned corporations ONGC Videsh and GAIL, Ltd purchase 20% and 10% respectively of the stake in A-1 from Daewoo International.

November 2001

Korean Gas Corporation, KOGAS, purchases 10% of the stake in A-1 from Daewoo International.

November, 2000

The military regime officially makes forced labour illegal in Burma. (7)

August 2000 

Daewoo International signs a Production sharing Contract (PSC) for the offshore A-1 block with the Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE). (1) 

June 2000

The annual ILO Conference adopts a Resolution calling on its constituents (Governments, Employers, and Trade Unions), the UN and other multilateral agencies to review relations with Burma and cease any relations that might aid its military junta to abet forced labour. (6)

May 2000

The Yetagun pipeline opens to transport of gas to the Thai power plant in Ratchaburi, now receiving 525 million cubic feet per day (Mmcfd) from Yadana ad Yetagun according to the original contract.

November 1998

Smaller amounts of gas from the Yadana field is transported to a gas fired power plant in Ratchaburi, Thailand, run by the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT).(5) 

March 1997

A U.S. federal district court in Los Angeles agrees to hear the lawsuit filed against Unocal [for human rights abuses at the Yadana/Yetagun projects], concluding that corporations and their executive officers can be held legally responsible for violations of international human rights norms in foreign countries, and that U.S. courts have the authority to adjudicate such claims. (4)

October 1995

Yadana/Yetagun: Infrastructure and offshore pipeline construction starts. (3)

February, 1995

Yadana/Yetagun: Vilagers are forced to start clearing a 300-ft-wide path for the pipeline and accompanying roadway. (3)

July-December, 1994

Yadana/Yetagun: A series of onshore and offshore environmental and cultural impact assessments are implemented, but results kept confidential. (3)

Early 1993

Yadana/Yetagun: The French copany Total begins exploratory drilling in four test well that eventually estanblish the commercial viability of the Yadana field (3)

October 1991

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize


Myanmar Daewoo Electronics Co., Ltd. is established as a joint venture agreement between Myanmar Heavy Industries and Daewoo Electronics Co., Ltd. and Daewoo Corporation (Daewoo Group) of South Korea.

May 1990

Premier Oil is the first international corporation to sign an offshore contract with the military regime, since the 1988 democracy uprising. (Following international pressure and financial losses, it sells its stakes in November 2003 to Malaysian Petronas) [2]

May 1990

Elections are held in Burma and 82% of the parliamentary seats are won by the National League for Democracy (NLD), led by Aung San Suu Kyi. [The parliament has to date not been allowed to convene, by the military regime]

September 1988

The military cracks down on pro-democracy movements throughout Burma, killing thousands of unarmed demonstrators.

Learn More

Read more about the Shwe Project:

  • Maps: Detailed maps of possible pipeline routes and the Shwe Project area. 

  • Possible Pipeline Routes: Still undecided, who might be directly affected if this project goes through?

  • The Shwe Gas Wells: Reserve estimates, wells drilled, and other specifics.

More topics in this section:

  • The SHWE Gas Movement:  its history and its member organizations.
  • Campaign Goals: Why postponing the exploitation of this gas is a high priority for the people of Burma and the international community. 

Learn more about: 

  • SHWE Stakeholders: Parties direct or indirect interest in the processes and outcomes of this development project.
  • The Issues: The four main issues driving the SHWE Gas Movement's campaign.
  • The Latest News: Stay abreast of the most recent SHWE Gas Movement-related news

Take action:

  • Take Action: Learn what you can help stop the ongoing Shwe Project and help the people of Burma.




(3)   Earth Rights International/SAIN, "Total Denial" (July 1996)
























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