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EBRD cancels Turkmenistan hydrocarbon-related loan

Crude Accountability is pleased that the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development canceled the CMI Offshore loan to Turkmenistan, which would have supported offshore oil development in one of the most corrupt, authoritarian regimes in the world.

Crude Accountability actively advocated against this loan, pointing to violations of EBRD’s own Environment and Social Policy, as well as its Turkmenistan Country Strategy. The loan, categorized as B, lacked a comprehensive Social and Environmental Impact Assessment, despite the fact that the project area of influence greatly impacted the Hazar Nature Reserve, a RAMSAR Site of International Importance.

Further, Crude Accountability argued that the loan would violate the Turkmenistan Country Strategy, which prohibits investments in the oil and gas sector until governance and economic indicators improve in the country.  While the EBRD labeled the project as Transportation, it was, in fact, servicing Dragon Oil offshore oil development and is thus an Energy-related investment.

In 2017, Crude Accountability filed a complaint with the EBRD Project Compliance Mechanism, arguing that the project was miscategorized, and required a comprehensive Social and Environmental Impact Assessment. Further, Crude’s data based research revealed ongoing and severe oil leaks in the project area of influence, without any improvements over the past decade.

“It is appalling that the EBRD, a development bank with a clear mandate to promote democracy and pluralism, is considering investing in the hydrocarbon sector of Turkmenistan, where freedoms of association, expression and assembly are virtually non-existent”, said Sonia Zilberman, Director of South Caspian and Environment at Crude Accountability.

“Oil money just disappears in the private pockets of President Berdymuhammedov. Turkmenistan has the world’s fourth largest gas reserves, and most of the country doesn’t even have access to gas heating in the winter. These types of loans don’t benefit the Turkmen people or the environment, they just fuel corruption and violations of human rights.”

Crude Accountability applauds the EBRD for canceling the CMI Offshore loan, and urges the Bank to maintain a “more for more, and less for less” approach when developing a new Country Strategy for Turkmenistan.


Sonia Zilberman
Director, South Caspian Energy and Environment
Crude Accountability