CHEVRON’S NIGERIA PIPELINE UNDER INVESTIGATION

July 14, 2007 at 11:08 pm Leave a comment

MEDIA ADVISORY

Friends of the Earth International
Bank Information Center
Environmental Rights Action Nigeria

13 July 2007

CHEVRON’S NIGERIA PIPELINE UNDER INVESTIGATION

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LAGOS (NIGERIA) / WASHINGTON DC (US) — 13 JULY 2007 — An official
inspection will begin on July 15 on the West-African Gas Pipeline, a
project led by US oil giant Chevron with support from the World Bank.

Twelve Nigerian communities formally asked the World Bank for the
inspection because of grievances related to the project’s social and
environmental impacts and safety concerns.

The visit comes a week after the announcement of a UK Parliamentary
investigation into the World Bank’s effectiveness.

The World Bank’s Inspection Panel said it will investigate ‘conflicting
assertions’ by the communities and World Bank officials about the ‘cause
of pollution of the lagoon and alleged damage to fisheries, serious
concerns regarding the valuation of assets and procedures for
compensation, and a lack of information regarding the implementation of
the project.’

In the complaint they submitted in April 2006, the communities state:
‘We believe that the West-African Gas Pipeline project, if executed as
presently conceived, would do irreparable damage to the land and
consequently, destroy the livelihoods of the 12 communities.’

They raised concerns about the inadequacy of compensation paid to
landowners, insufficient pipeline safety measures, lack of information
about environmental impacts and the project’s failure to make a
meaningful contribution to gas flaring reduction.

“We are happy that our complaints will now be officially investigated.
This project was supposed to help end gas flaring, which is a major
cause of climate change and local health problems. However, to date we
have seen no proof that flaring will stop,” said Michael Karipko of ERA
/ Friends of the Earth Nigeria.

The Inspection Panel visit comes amidst growing instability in the Niger
Delta, largely a result of local resentment against companies and
government elites growing rich off oil and gas in the region, while
communities suffer from health problems, persistent poverty, and
widespread unemployment.

“The investigation should be a wake up call for the World Bank about the
disconnectbetween its projects and its commitments to combating climate
change and increasing energy access for the poor,” said Nikki Reisch of
Bank Information Center. “Rather than helping companies expand their gas
production in the Niger Delta, the World Bank should prioritize ending
the wasteful and dangerous practice of gas flaring and supplying energy
to local communities.”

The World Bank is facing increased scrutiny. Last week, the UK
Parliament announced it will investigate whether the UK’s ‘priorities in
specific policy areas, particularly climate change, can be pursued
effectively through World Bank funding’.

“All these investigations into the World Bank’s work are a good thing,”
said Janneke Bruil of Friends of the Earth International. “The question
on the table is whether the World Bank is the right institution to deal
with development and climate change”.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Michael Karipko, Friends of the Earth Nigeria / ERA. Tel: + 234 803 552
6729 (Nigerian mobile number)

Janneke Bruil, Friends of the Earth International.Tel: +31-6- 52118998
(Dutch mobile number)

Nikki Reisch, Bank Information Center +1 202 624 0635 (Washington DC)

NOTES TO EDITORS:

Inspection panel web site: Nigeria: West Africa Gas Pipeline Project
(2006) is online:
http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/EXTINSPECTIONPANEL/0,,contentMDK:20909274~menuPK:64129250~pagePK:64129751~piPK:64128378~theSitePK:380794,00.html

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