World Bank Criticised for Giving $21 Billion Support to Fossil Fuel Projects

Read time: 4 mins
Sasol gas pipeline Mozambique

By Natalie Sauer for Climate Home News

The World Bank Group faces criticism for continuing to back fossil fuel development, despite moves to clean up its portfolio.

It has earned green credentials for ending direct lending to coal-fired power plants, promising to axe support for oil and gas exploration and increasing its clean energy budget.

Yet over the last five years, the group’s support to oil and gas actually increased, while coal benefitted from indirect subsidies, according to analysis from German NGO Urgewald.

Exposed: The Elite ‘Boys Club’ Running London’s Opaque Oil Network

Read time: 24 mins
Oil in the Niger Delta

In the summer of 2008, as the price of oil peaked to a record high, a polar explorer and a group of City bankers decided to turn a former gaming company into an oil and gas investment company targeting one of Africa’s most unstable corners: Nigeria.

Investors were told the new business would find an oil asset in the shallow waters of the Niger Delta with the help of a local prince, partner with a company to extract the oil, and sell it on to an oil major for a profit.

To fund this new venture, Sirius Petroleum was listed on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM), London’s junior stock market that allows small companies to raise funds by floating shares. Critics have denounced the market’s weak regulation, which has won the exchange a “casino” reputation

Behind the scheme was millionaire Andrew Regan and his Cayman Islands-registered investment vehicle Corvus Capital. Together with a group of established City operators, Regan reportedly made a fortune on AIM, buying into shell companies and transforming them into lucrative ventures. Sirius appears to be another example of this strategy.

The Risks of Oil Exploration in Offshore Nigeria

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Man walking among oil spill in the Niger Delta

In 2016, Nigeria reclaimed its position as Africa’s largest oil producer and remains one of the countries with the largest oil reserves in the world, including in the deepwater off the Nigerian coast.

Oil exploitation in Nigeria goes back a long way. Shell first discovered oil in the Niger Delta region in the mid 1950s with production starting in 1958.

Since then, the Niger Delta has been associated with industrial oil exploitation. It was put on the map when two major oil spills by oil giant Shell in 2008 and 2009 caused extensive pollution, ravaged the environment and destroyed the livelihoods of the local fishing and farming communities. To this day, the clean-up has not been completed.

Fresh Revelations of Alleged Shell Corruption to be Heard in Italian Court

Read time: 6 mins

Court proceedings are due to begin in Italy today to determine whether oil giant Shell will face trial on corruption charges over the purchase of one of Africa’s most valuable oil blocks.

Italian prosecutors claim Shell and Italian oil major Eni concluded a deal for the rights to exploit the Nigerian deepwater oil block OPL 245 with knowledge that the money would fall into the hands of a convicted money-launderer and be turned into political kickbacks.

They are accusing Shell, Eni and several of Eni’s senior executives, including its CEO Claudio Descalzi, of corruption over the purchase of the block in 2011.

Victory for Oil Giant Shell as High Court Blocks Nigerian Communities' Pollution Case

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Ogoni region, Niger Delta

Oil giant Shell has won a major battle in the High Court today, after a judge ruled the company had no legal responsibility for the chronic pollution caused by its Nigerian subsidiary in the Niger Delta.

This comes after DeSmog UK revealed the UK foreign office (FCO) agreed to lobby the Nigerian Government on behalf of Shell to protect its oil interest in the Niger Delta.

Revealed: UK Ministers Lobbied Nigeria’s Government to Protect Oil Giant Shell

Read time: 11 mins
Spill Sites in Kegbara-Dere (K-Dere) community in Gokana LGA Rivers State, Niger Delta, Nigeria

Ministers from the UK’s Foreign Office (FCO) agreed to lobby the Nigerian Government to protect Shell’s oil interests in the Niger Delta despite the company’s poor human rights and environmental record in the region, official documents seen by DeSmog UK reveal.

Briefings and minutes from a series of meetings between government ministers and the oil giant between May 2013 and July 2015, attained through a freedom of information request, show a cosy relationship between Shell and the FCO, with ministers pledging the government’s “ongoing support and commitment” to Shell’s controversial activities.

The documents show Shell requested help to attain tougher regulations on oil theft, a weaker taxation regime favourable to its gas and offshore investments, and for the UK government to use its influence to ensure a peaceful transition during Nigeria’s general election.

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