Human rights groups and industry executives have slammed Woodside Energy’s rationale to proceed with a major gas development and exploration campaign in Myanmar following a military coup and subsequent bloody protests.
A former Woodside employee today said he was struggling to digest comments made last Thursday by Peter Coleman, the company’s chief executive. The former employee questioned the Australian firm’s rationale for taking a “sit back and monitor” approach to the military coup, as stated by Coleman, while a humanitarian injustice unfolds in Myanmar.
“At Woodside in 2014 we had the 22 floors of the office redecorated, with large posters of historical prominent leaders with famous quotes on leadership and integrity, i.e Winston Churchill, Martin Luther King etc, to instil integrity based decision making,” the former employee said on Linkedin today.
And there was one quote from a prominent leader that struck the former employee: “we do what is right, even when it is not easy,” by Peter Coleman.
“The situation and decisions facing any organisation invested in the country of Myanmar are anything but easy at the moment, and I don’t envy any of the difficult decisions yet to be made. But to be a values led organisation, you can’t just have large glossy posters telling your employees what your values are. You need to live out those values for what is right, even when it is not easy! As this would be such a time for Woodside!,” added the former employee.
Other industry executives also told Energy Voice that they expressed concerns about Woodside’s Myanmar project.
CONDEMNATIONS AND POLICE SHOOTINGS
Dozens of governments have condemned Myanmar’s army after it seized power and arrested dozens of elected leaders, including Aung San Suu Kyi, on 1 February. The armed forces said it had carried out the detentions of Suu Kyi and other senior politicians in response to alleged “election fraud”, handing power to military chief General Min Aung Hlaing and imposing a state of emergency for one year,
At least three people protesting the coup have been allegedly shot dead by police over the week-end. Fears of more deadly encounters between protesters and security forces hang over Myanmar as large-scale demonstrations against the military’s power grab have been called for this week.
Still, Woodside, which is halfway through an offshore exploration campaign appeared almost sympathetic to the military takeover.
“It’s very early days in the coup, the military has committed to free and fair elections in 12 months,” Woodside chief executive Peter Coleman told Australia’s Energy News Bulletin last Thursday after releasing the company’s full-year results.
“It’s not up to us to judge the veracity of grievances they have around the previous election process,” he said.
“I understand they’ve put together quite an extensive folder of grievances around the election that they wanted to be heard and they weren’t being heard. They were pushed up against a difficult decision point, the day of the coup was the…