Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A student sent me this today....

By Marwaan Macan-Markar

BANGKOK - The largest island off west coast is emerging as another frontier for China's expanding plans to extract the rich oil and gas reserves of military-ruled Myanmar.

Initial explorations by a consortium, led by China National Offshore
Oil Company (CNOOC), has left a deep scar on Ramree Island, which is twice the size of Singapore and home to about 400,000 people. ''They have destroyed rice fields and plantations when conducting the seismic surveys and mining the island in search of oil,'' says Jockai Khaing, director of Arakan Oil Watch (AOW), an environmental group of Myanmar people living in exile.

''The local communities have been directly and indirectly affected,'' he said. ''Hundreds of people have been forced to relocate as a result of the drilling conducted near their communities. The locals hate the Chinese; their world has become crazy after the Chinese arrived.''

CNOOC has been pushing ahead with its work since early 2005 with no attempt to consult the local residents and showing little regard to such notions as corporate social responsibility, said Jockai. The Chinese company, which is listed on the New York and the Hong Kong stock exchanges, has ''not conducted the required environmental impact assessments and social impact assessments that are recognized internationally as a must before exploration work begins.''