Something to consider…
Oil and gas companies are increasingly interested in exploration off the coast of Rakhine state. Companies like Woodside Energy, Shell, Total, and Chevron are already operating several fields offshore, and are confident that more discoveries are likely following the biggest natural gas discovery of 2016 off the coast of Rakhine.
These operations, and the expansion of these operations will profoundly impact the fishing industry in Rakhine, which disproportionately employs Rohingya. As found in a study on small scale fishing in Myanmar:
“…Rohingya made up a disproportionate numbers of fishermen since Rakhine Buddhists have historically shunned fishing businesses…”
Typically, major oil and gas companies, though not legally obliged to do so, initiate development projects in affected communities to offset the harm caused to their livelihoods. All of the aforementioned companies have extensive community engagement programs designed to ensure as much as possible that their operations do not negatively impact the livelihoods of affected communities.
At present, as we know, the Rohingya are being ethnically cleansed from Rakhine state; which is to say, the affected community is being erased. This means that any development projects initiated by oil and gas companies will instead exclusively benefit the Rakhine; although they are not, by and large, engaged in the fishing sector.
This can be seen both as a manifestation of the government’s ethnic hatred for the Rohingya (wanting to ensure that their fellow Buddhists alone reap the benefits of development), and as a management tool for placating the Rakhine with material opportunities to abate their hostility over the exploitation of their state’s resources.