Future of pipeline in doubt
The future of the controversial Chad-Cameroon oil development project and pipeline was in doubt yesterday after Exxon announced it was "considering changes" in the consortium which has planned to undertake the venture.
Royal/Dutch Shell which, like Exxon, holds a 40 per cent share, said it was reviewing its participation, and Elf, which has a 20 per cent share, said it had not yet made a decision on whether to pull out of the $3.5bn project.
The companies issued statements hours after the government of Chad said they had "unexpectedly made known their decision to stop funding the Doba oil project in southern Chad".
There has been speculation in Chad for weeks that the project was in trouble. The planned 650-mile pipeline that would carry oil from fields in southern Chad to Kribi in Cameroon has drawn widespread opposition from environmentalists and human rights campaigners.
The Rainforest Action Network yesterday staged a protest at Shell's Washington headquarters and the World Bank on the fourth anniversary of the execution of Ken Saro-wiwa, Nigerian poet, playwright and environmentalist, and seven others.
The protesters blame Shell for environmental destruction and human rights abuses in Nigeria's oil producing Ogoniland.
"We are insisting that the World Bank does not participate in creating another environmental and social nightmare like that visited upon Nigeria," said Erick Brownstein, African campaign director for the Rainforest group.
The World Bank says its participation in the project is the key to holding the parties together and providing environmental safeguards.
Source: Financial Times 11 Nov 1999
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