Drawing The Line: The Case Against China’s Shwe Gas Project, For Better Extractive Industries in Burma
This report by the Shwe Gas Movement calls for suspension of the Shwe Gas Project on the grounds that it sets a dangerous precedent for the extractive industries and leads to ongoing human rights abuses that include land confiscation, poor labor practices, environmental damage and exacerbation of tensions with ethnic nationalities.
‘Drawing the line: the case against China’s Shwe Gas project, for better extractive industries in Burma’ examines the Shwe Gas Project as a case study of the failures of Burma’s booming extractive sector. Based on testimony from locals in all affected areas and analysis of Burma’s legal setting, the report concludes that weak governance, unfair distribution of revenue and continued human rights abuses are cause for suspension, and that addressing these fundamental problems now will pave the way for more responsible future investments in one of the nation’s fastest-growing industries.
The Shwe Gas project, the largest extractive project in Burma, set to earn US$54 billion for the Burmese government, has just begun transferring Burma’s natural gas to China. As the first such project to become operational under the new quasi-civilian government, its management will set the precedent for how future extractive projects will be carried out as Burma opens up for investment and resource bidding. As it stands, the standard is not good.
The Shwe Gas project refers to a number of related developments reaching from Burma’s Arakan coast to Kunming and Nanning, China. The major components of the project are offshore natural gas rigs, an onshore natural gas terminal, a deep sea port, a crude oil storage facility, and two pipelines that span Burma diagonally, delivering gas and oil directly to Southwestern China. The project has effectively enabled others, such as the development of a Special Economic Zone and a transnational railway linking Burma’s western coast to China.