Allianz is latest insurer to reject major African oil pipeline

Giraffes in Uganda’s Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda, where 10 oil wells will be drilled under the scheme (DrexRockman/Public domain)
Allianz, one of the world’s biggest oil and gas insurers, has become the latest to commit to not insuring the project to build a 1,443km pipeline to carry oil newly drilled from Uganda to the port of Tanga in neighbouring Tanzania.

It joins Munich Re, Zurich, Axa, SCOR, Swiss Re, and Hannover Re in saying they will not do business with the $3.5bn East African Crude Oil Pipeline (Eacop) being developed by France’s TotalEnergies and China’s CNOOC Ltd..

Some 15 big insurance firms with track records of insuring oil and gas projects have been targeted by the “StopEacop” alliance of more than 260 organisations, who say the project to drill for oil to the east of Lake Albert in Uganda and to transport it underground to Tanzania through the world’s longest heated pipeline will displace thousands from their land, threaten water sources for millions and endanger wildlife habitats.

The extra oil burned as a result, meanwhile, will pump some 34 million tons of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere every year, the alliance says.

“Allianz is not providing direct insurance to the East African Crude Oil Pipeline project, as it neither meets our climate ambition nor falls within our ESG risk profile,” the company said in a statement to StopEacop, the alliance said today.

StopEacop has also targeted big banks that have financed Total or CNOOC in the past, with HSBC, Credit Suisse, Barclays and BNP Paribas among those stating they would not be participating.

“It is now official, 7 out of the 15 (re)insurers we have approached have concluded that Eacop is a huge risk for them to underwrite,” said Omar Elmawi, StopEacop campaign coordinator. “What are Lloyd’s of London and the others waiting for? Insurers must not be accomplices to climate-wrecking fossil fuel projects like Eacop which is mired in human rights violations, unprecedented climate consequences and social and environmental harms.”

On its website, TotalEnergies says of the scheme: “Environmental and social impact assessments (ESIAs) have been carried out in compliance with the exacting standards of the International Finance Corporation (IFC). Third-party reviews have also been conducted to ensure that the projects are compliant with the best social and environmental practices.”

The company says it will develop six fields in Uganda, drilling some 400 wells in 31 locations, including 10 wells in Uganda’s Murchison Falls National Park.

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