Crude Accountability leads an international campaign to protect a fragile and unique ecosystem in Turkmenistan, which is on the Caspian Sea coast, from the dangerous CMI Offshore sponsored by the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development.
The EBRD wants to use public (tax-payer) money to provide $21 million in loans to CMI Offshore, a company that would purchase one or more sea-faring vessels to service offshore oil rigs. The project the loan would support would use an offshore transportation route of the Anchor Handling Tug Supply (AHTS) for vessels to crosses through the Hazar Nature Reserve, putting it at risk from hydrocarbons.
The Hazar Nature Reserve is a Ramsar protected site and home to over 50 species of endemic fish, at least 10 of which are endangered. It is also habitat to 264 species of birds, including 55 nesting species; 37 species of reptiles, including two endangered species of snake; and 47 species of mammals, 12 of which are endangered.
According to its own procedures, the EBRD is required to conduct environmental and social due diligence before providing funding for this type of project. However, the institution has failed to do so by stating that the project is a “transportation” project rather than a project associated with oil and gas facilities. It has also taken at face value the assessment of Turkmenistan’s government that the project will not harm the Hazar Reserve. It should conduct its own assessments.
Turkmenistan is one of the world’s most opaque and corrupt regimes, and is run by an authoritarian dictator who stifles all dissent and who has made it impossible for civil society organizations, including environmental defenders, to work.
We are asking the EBRD to review its own procedures and to carefully evaluate what it is proposing to fund with this loan. We believe that such a review will show them that the project should be a category A project—the most dangerous kind that the bank funds—and thus that a range of additional procedures will be necessary before the EBRD can even consider funding this project.