press release

Unocal responds to OCAW allegations concerning Yadana project in Myanmar

El Segundo, Calif., Dec. 23, 1996 -- In response to a news release distributed by the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers International Union (OCAW), Unocal issued the following statement regarding the company's participation in the Yadana natural gas development project in Myanmar (Burma):

The news release issued by the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers International Union is an unfounded and reckless attempt to smear Unocal and its thousands of honest, dedicated employees. The allegation that any Unocal executive would ever condone drug money laundering is totally untrue and outrageous. Unocal has explicit policies against any type of involvement in unethical or illegal behavior and strictly adheres to those policies.

The allegations concerning the Yadana project's labor standards are likewise unfounded and irresponsible. The Yadana project's employment practices and standards are designed to ensure that there is no forced or conscripted labor on this project. All workers are paid a higher-than-average wage.

Furthermore, the Yadana project is providing significant benefits to the 35,000 people who live near the pipeline area -- an extremely poor and undeveloped region of Myanmar. In addition to creating high-paying jobs, Unocal and Total (the French oil company serving as project operator) have begun a three-year, $6 million program to provide improved medical care, new and refurbished schools, electrical power and agricultural development in the pipeline region.

Unocal has conducted tours of the project for government officials and news media representatives -- all of whom have witnessed first-hand the positive impact of the project's human development programs. Local villagers are very supportive of the project and encourage the company to remain in Myanmar. Because the project is directly and tangibly improving the quality of their lives, withdrawing from the project in response to false, politically motivated statements would be reprehensible.

Contact: David Garcia

Updated: December 1996