Frankfurt, Germany. An anonymous source within Deutsche Bank has privately briefed journalists that the bank will not be providing dedicated finance to the planned East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP). To date, 15 commercial banks have made commitments to avoid financing the project, so this signal makes it clearer than ever the scale of the banking sector’s rejection of the project.
Deutsche Bank has faced growing pressure from campaigners to rule out its support for the EACOP – including a projection on the bank’s Frankfurt HQ on Sunday night. The bank’s statement was provided to journalists under conditions of anonymity just days ahead of the Deutsche Bank AGM in what can be seen as a move to undermine a series of planned protests targeting fossil fuel financing. While it is an important step that demonstrates the power of public pressure, campaigners are demanding that Deutsche Bank:
- Publicly rule out finance for EACOP at its AGM;
- Develop a strong oil and gas policy that excludes corporate financing for companies planning new oil and gas projects, like Total.
Civil society responses
Omar Elmawi, Coordinator of Stop EACOP, said, “Financing this project is madness and we are glad that Deutsche Bank has finally deduced this. However, they are still involved with financing TotalEnergies business and could be indirectly financing the pipeline and associated oil fields in Uganda. Deutsche Bank, therefore, needs to see this project for what it is; a crime against the people, nature and climate and not give Total even a single nickel for it”
Kate Cahoon, Senior Germany Campaigner at 350.org said, “This announcement is the result of sustained public pressure on the bank, and it is an important step in the right direction. However, while it is welcome news that Deutsche Bank won’t be providing funding for EACOP directly, it continues to finance Total, the company building the pipeline. Since the Paris Agreement was signed in 2015 Deutsche Bank has pumped more than 1.8 billion euros into Total, and just last month the bank contributed to a 8 billion dollar financing package for the oil giant. We look forward to Deutsche Bank confirming this news in an official statement to its shareholders at their annual general meeting this Thursday and announcing its next steps for withdrawing all financial support for Total and fossil fuel expansion.”
Regine Richter, energy and finance campaigner at urgewald, said, “It’s good if Deutsche Bank distances itself from financing EACOP. But financing TotalEnergies at the same time shows that this addresses only part of the problem. Deutsche Bank needs to clean up its corporate financing too and exclude providing money to companies expanding their oil and gas business. Without that Deutsche Bank can’t be taken seriously from a climate perspective.”
Ryan Brightwell, Human Rights Campaign Lead at BankTrack, said, “After years of refusing to comment on whether it will finance the East African Crude Oil Pipeline, Deutsche Bank has finally made it known through this anonymous media leak that it is not financing the project directly. But it has done so just days after news broke of its participation in an $8 billion loan to TotalEnergies, the majority owner of the pipeline, apparently without conditions. This is money that could well fund the EACOP or any of Total’s other fossil fuel expansion plans. Deutsche needs to step up both its transparency and its fossil fuel policies, and stop throwing fuel on the fire of the climate emergency like this.”
Note to editors:
Media contact: Mark Raven, [email protected], +447841474125
Groups in support of the above response: 350.org, BankTrack, StopEACOP, urgewald, KoalaKollektiv.
- The East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) will be more than 1,400 km long – the distance between Paris and Rome – and would run alongside Lake Victoria basin, which is the continent’s largest freshwater reserve and the source of the Nile, between Uganda and Tanzania.
- The oil would be heated permanently to 50°C to keep it fluid and transport it to the port of Tanga, in Tanzania, and into international shipping tankers.
- This pipeline would transport 200,000 barrels of oil per day and generate up to 34 million tons of carbon emissions each year – seven times what Uganda emits each year and about 1/16th of France’s emissions.
- More than 100,000 people are being forced off their land and expropriated.
- The project risks poisoning the water resources and wetlands of Uganda and Tanzania, including the Lake Victoria Basin, on which more than 40 million people depend for drinking water, food production and their livelihoods.
- This will violate a multitude of human rights: the right to property, the right to an adequate standard of living, the right to food, the right to education, the right to health, the right to adequate housing, the right to life and safety, the right to freedom of expression, assembly and association, and the right to free, prior and informed consent.
- There are threats, harassment, intimidation, attacks, arrests and imprisonment of environmental, human rights and journalistic defenders.