The company joins TotalEnergies and Chevron in pulling out from the Asian country which has been facing political unrest since 2021


Woodside has a 40% participating stake in the A-6 joint venture (JV) as joint operator. (Credit: Keri Jackson from Pixabay)

Woodside Petroleum has announced its exit from Myanmar, citing the ongoing political turmoil in the Southeast Asian country caused by last year’s military coup.

The Australian petroleum exploration and production company has a 40% participating stake in the A-6 joint venture (JV) as joint operator, apart from participating interests in the AD-1 and AD-8 exploration permits.

Woodside had announced in the past that it was putting all Myanmar business decisions under review after the State of Emergency was declared in the country in February 2021.

Last year, the Australian firm wrapped up the relinquishment of exploration permits spanning the AD-2, AD-5, and A-4 offshore blocks. Currently, it is in the process of pulling out from the AD-6, AD-7, and A-7 blocks.

The company said that the non-cash expense associated with its decision to withdraw from the A-6 and AD-1 blocks is anticipated to impact its 2021 net profit after tax (NPAT) by nearly $138m. The amount is on top of the exploration and evaluation expense of $71m for the AD-7 block.

Woodside said that it will now start making arrangements to formally withdraw from blocks AD-1 and AD-8, the A-6 JV, as well as the A-6 production sharing contract (PSC) held with the Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE).

According to CEO Meg O’Neill, the company was hoping to develop the A-6 gas resources with its joint venture partners, however, there was no longer a feasible option to continue the activities.

O’Neill said: “Woodside has been a responsible foreign investor in Myanmar since 2013 with our conduct guided by the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and other relevant international standards.

“Given the ongoing situation in Myanmar we can no longer contemplate Woodside’s participation in the development of the A-6 gas resources, nor other future activities in-country.”

Located in the Rakhine Basin, A-6 is an ultra-deep-water block, which contains the Shwe Yee Htun-2, Shwe Yee Htun-1, and the Pyi Thit-1 discoveries. Woodside is partnered by TotalEnergies and MPRL E&P in the offshore block.

Recently, TotalEnergies and Chevron announced their withdrawal from Myanmar citing similar reasons as Woodside.