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HUMAN RIGHTS & THE MNE. THE BURMA PIPELINE: GROUP 1 CASE. Yadana Pipeline Slave Building the Pipe Line. UNOCAL’S STRATEGY. John Imle’s strategy for Unocal (a focus strategy) Does this strategy make sense?. HOW IMPORTANT IS YADANA? POSITIVE SIDE?.

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the burma pipeline group 1 case
THE BURMA PIPELINE: GROUP 1 CASE

Yadana Pipeline Slave Building the Pipe Line

unocal s strategy
UNOCAL’S STRATEGY
  • John Imle’s strategy for Unocal (a focus strategy)
  • Does this strategy make sense?
how important is yadana positive side
HOW IMPORTANT IS YADANA? POSITIVE SIDE?
  • Burma is relatively uncontested territory for oil companies
  • Yadana is a proven, low-cost field
  • The risks of the project appear further allayed by the deal’s partnership structure
  • The project appears relatively inexpensive
  • The project also appears to be relatively lucrative.
  • Yadana seems a nearly perfect fit with Unocal’s focus strategy
negative aspects
NEGATIVE ASPECTS
  • Burma is a high-profile country with a regime that is widely regarded as repressive & illegitimate
  • The pipeline corridor cuts through an area pockmarked with indigenous villages & known for ethnic violence
  • Insofar as the project entails partnering with MOGE, it puts Unocal into commercial alliance with the Burmese government
  • While the Yadana project promises to add considerably to Unocal’s total reserves of natural gas, its financial impact is not particularly large.
if you were john imle would you have agreed to this deal in 1993
IF YOU WERE JOHN IMLE, WOULD YOU HAVE AGREED TO THIS DEAL IN 1993?

Aung San Suu Kyi

Three Burmese Generals

what accusations have been made about unocal s involvement in the yadana pipeline
WHAT ACCUSATIONS HAVE BEEN MADE ABOUT UNOCAL’S INVOLVEMENT IN THE YADANA PIPELINE?
  • Responsibility for and complicity with human rights abuses
  • Use of slave labor
  • Responsibility for the Burmese military’s “ethnic cleansing” & forced relocation of local populations
  • Enabling the Burmese government to engage in rape, murder, & the laundering of drug money
  • Environmental degradation
what should imle do
WHAT SHOULD IMLE DO?
  • He has already made the decision to participate in the pipeline project but Unocal has already been accused of being complacent
  • Withdraw?
  • Remain aloof from accusations?
  • Manage the situation?
conclusion
CONCLUSION
  • This case underscores the critical and often delicate relationship between foreign investment and a country’s political environment.
  • By investing in Burma, Unocal has thrust itself deeply into Burmese politics & into the political questions that cloud Burma’s position in the international arena
  • At a broader level, the case illustrates the growing importance of international pressure and activist groups
  • Unocal’s involvement in the country has undoubtedly helped to secure the position of Burma’s military regime.
recent developments
RECENT DEVELOPMENTS
  • Military abuse of human rights around the pipeline
    • Several human rights groups documented hundreds of cases of rape & sexual assault
    • Villagers forced to act as human mine sweepers
  • Two legal cases in 2004
    • California district court ruled that Unocal must face a jury over its subsidiaries’ role in Burma
    • Federal court (rests on the Alien Torts Claim Act – Supreme Court opened the way for the suit to continue) – Bush tried to prevent the law from being applied in this case
  • March 2005 – Unocal settled the case – amount kept secret
  • April 2005 – Chevron Texaco announced it was acquiring Unocal and will hold on to the Yadana investments
canadian involvement
CANADIAN INVOLVEMENT
  • TCPL – largest pipeline firm in Canada – is assisting in the construction of the Thai portion of the Yadhana gas pipeline (from Burma to Thailand)
  • Mitsubishi Canada – supplies material for the project
  • Canadian Helicopters International provides helicopter services to Total.
  • BC Gas signed a long-term contract to source gas from Unocal
  • Ridel Resources is in a separate joint venture with the Burmese state oil enterprise
  • Nortel Networks – selling a cellular phone system to Burma – aids military in tapping phone lines
  • Ivanhoe Mines – copper mine – also First Dynasty Mines – East Asia Gold – Palmer Resources
  • Sears Canada sourcing clothes from garment industry (most underpaid in Asia – 8 cents an hour – have to pay half of their wages to the military political party)
  • Canada – cut off aid but refuses to ban investment and trade.
  • US has cut off aid & prohibits any new investment (1997)
assignment for 1 2 2007
ASSIGNMENT FOR 1/2/2007
  • TOPIC: Meanings & dimensions of culture
  • ASSIGNMENT: chapter 14
  • Prepare Euro-Disneyland, pp. 216-225
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