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Unocal giving up natural-gas explor

Subject: Unocal giving up natural-gas exploration in  Burma

Unocal giving up natural-gas exploration in  Burma
  April 23, 1997
  10.18 a.m. EDT (1418 GMT)

  SINGAPORE (AP) -- Unocal Corp., the biggest foreign investor in Burma, said
  Wednesday it has given up developing two new natural gas fields because of
  economic sanctions imposed by President Clinton. 

  Washington announced a ban Tuesday on new U.S. investment in Burma,
  saying its military government has ignored appeals to ease repression and move
  toward democratic rule. Clinton was expected to sign an order implementing
  the sanctions later this week. 

  Burmese dissidents are calling for a boycott of business ties to the
ruling junta,
  saying foreign investment strengthens its grip on power while doing little to
  help ordinary Burmese. 

  "We were going to look at one or two additional blocks in the offshore area in
  the Andaman sea, but it's clear we would not be able to do it,'' John G.
  Vandermeer, a Unocal vice president for new ventures in South and Southeast
  Asia, told Dow Jones Newswires. 

  Vandermeer said Unocal also would forgo other investments in Burma, but he
  declined to give details. 

  The company will go ahead with plans to look for gas southwest of the Yadana
  field in the the Andaman Sea because it already is committed by a deal signed
  with the Burmese government in January, he said. 

  A $750 million project to build a gas pipeline and power plant to supply
  Rangoon, the Burmese capital, also will go forward as planned. 

  "That is an existing project. We have agreements in place on that one,''
  Vandermeer said. "It's simply one of the number of projects ongoing in the

  He said, however, that the legal line separating new investments banned by the
  sanctions from existing projects that are allowed to continue was unclear. 

  "It's something we have to see how the legislation defines,'' he said. "We
  to work within the law but maintain our commitment to projects and Southeast
  Asia in general.''