Essay on Case Analysis: Unocal in Burma

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Case Analysis: Unocal in Burma Union Oil Company of California, Unocal, progressed into a full-service oil business after being founded more than 100 years ago to develop oil fields in California. Its services included extraction, refining, distribution, marketing and retail. Because of the depletion of oil fields in the United States, Unocal turned to foreign investments with a strategy to market its one-stop shopping business to governments.
A major international project of interest was the "Yadana Field" off the shore of Burma, which contained approximately 5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas—enough to produce gas continuously for about 30 years. Burma's government created the company Mynamar Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE) to find
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Unocal paid $8.6 million to buy a 28.26% share in the project. Total was responsible for coordinating the overall project, developing the wells and extracting gas, while Unocal would construct a 256-mile gas pipeline from Yadana Field to Thailand. The final 40 miles of the pipe would cross through the southern region of Burma which was inhabited by the hostile Karens. From 1993 to 1996, preparations for construction of the pipeline took place and the pipeline was built from 1996 to 1998. Throughout this entire period, the Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International issued several reports about the forced labor practices and "security" provided by the Burmese military. The Karens were brutalized and forced into slave labor as construction took place. Unocal was aware of all of this. Several human rights groups met with a Unocal project monitor and reported that Unocal had "no apologies to make." In 1995, another investigative consultant was hired by Unocal for the Yadana project. This consultant reported that "egregious human rights violations have occurred and are occurring in southern Burma" including forced relocation without compensation, forced labor on pipeline projects, and the army imprisoning and/or executing anyone who opposed these actions. Yet, Unocal did not take any action to stop the

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