Senator: U.S. energy ready for Myanmar

Jan. 10, 2013 at 9:29 AM

NAYPYITAW, Myanmar, Jan. 10 (UPI) -- U.S. Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., told Myanmar President Thein Sein that U.S. oil and natural gas companies were ready to invest in the country's economy.

Inhofe, ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said he met with Thein Sein to discuss investment opportunities.

"I told President Sein that I believe U.S. companies, especially those in the oil and gas sectors, can play a positive role in demonstrating high standards of responsible business conduct and encourage free market policies, while at the same time protect human rights in this rich land," Inhofe said.

U.S. President Barack Obama signed an executive order last year authorizing U.S. investments in Myanmar in light of political reforms. Certain limitations were made for the country's Defense Ministry and for sanctioned entities and individuals.

A consortium of advocacy groups signed a declaration expressing "grave concern" over the decision to allow U.S. investors into the country. They said it would likely worsen the human rights situation in Myanmar.

Inhofe said the U.S oil and natural gas industry has a "proud history" of fostering an open and transparent business environment on foreign shores.

Representatives from French company Total visited Myanmar in June to discuss prospects in the country.

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