May 11, 2001

The Burma Campaign UK are promising Directors of Premier Oil a rough ride at their AGM on Wednesday 16th May. Campaigners have purchased shares in Premier to enable them to attend the AGM and call for Premier Oil’s withdrawal from Burma.
“Premier Oil might be a relatively small company but they are up there in the big league when it comes to brutal business partners”, says John Jackson, Director of the Burma Campaign UK. Premier Oil have faced calls to withdraw from Burma since they first entered the country in 1990.
“They are helping to fuel one of the world’s most brutal and oppressive regimes” continues John Jackson. “Investments like Premier’s pump millions of dollars into a junta that continues to expand its army while its people are pushed further into poverty.” The project can expect a total income of $823 million by 2025 from the Yetagun gas field operated by Premier.
Premier Oil have also been asked to withdraw from Burma by Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of Burma’s legally elected government, who has said that “Premier should be ashamed of itself.” In an unprecedented move the UK government has added its voice to the call for Premier to get out of Burma.
Premier Oil have responded to criticism by commissioning a social audit ‘exploring’ the benefits their investment has brought to Burma. “This report is a lame excuse”, says John Jackson. “Rather than face up to the consequences of doing business in Burma, Premier Oil have resorted to spin. They didn’t even bother talking to people who were displaced from the pipeline area.”
Shareholders will be greeted by campaigners, including members of the Burmese community, who will be distributing a letter calling on them to use their influence to get Premier Oil to pull out of Burma.
Military rule has impoverished Burma. Once one of the richest nations in Asia, it is now one of the poorest. Half the population have no access to health services and one in ten babies die before their first birthday. As a percentage of GDP Burma spends fifteen times more on the military than it does on health services.
Ends
Notes to Editors:
1. For more information, a copy of our response to Premier Oil’s social audit or to arrange an interview please call John Jackson on 020 7281 7377, mobile 07961357391 .
2. Premier Oil’s AGM will be held on Wednesday May 16th at 11am, Merchant Taylors Hall, 30 Threadneedle Street, London EC2R 8AY.
3. Foreign Secretary Robin Cook has said, “I’m going to make it quite clear, we do not approve of what Premier are doing, they know that perfectly well, we would much rather they stopped and they know that perfectly well.” Foreign minister John Battle has also called on Premier to pull out of Burma saying: “I really expect Premier to do the decent thing without having to resort to legal pressure”.


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