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THE GREAT ENABLERS: International Financial Institutions Pave the Way for the Export of Oil and Gas from the Caspian Region

Crude Accountability’s new report “The Great Enablers: How Investments by International Financial Institutions Threaten the Fragile Caspian Sea Ecosystem,” chronicles the financing by international financial institutions of fossil fuel–related transport and infrastructure projects throughout the Caspian region. These projects enable oil and gas companies to overcome obstacles that would hinder transport of petroleum products to western markets.

International Financial Institutions (IFIs) have financed millions of dollars worth of projects in Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan—projects that facilitate the development of oil and gas projects in and around the Caspian Sea. These include the largest oil and gas fields, including Karachaganak, the offshore Kashagan field, and Tengiz in Kazakhstan; and prospective projects in Turkmenistan, including the development of the Turkmenbashi Port, the country’s main export point for oil, gas, and other petroleum projects headed west.

“Rather than enabling the oil and gas sector, which is in no need of public financing, the IFIs—including the World Bank Group, whose mission is to alleviate poverty around the world—should focus their efforts on addressing pressing social needs, advocating for greater civil society involvement in decision-making, and focusing on government transparency and accountability,” said Kate Watters, executive director of international watchdog NGO Crude Accountability.

Classifying the IFI loans as infrastructure or transportation lending often allows them to be subject to weaker environmental and social standards than if the projects were associated directly with the oil and gas ventures they enable. In this way, the IFIs avoid public scrutiny and internal control mechanisms that would kick in if the lending was to be within the oil and gas portfolios of their institutions.

The “Great Enablers” report concludes that IFI investments in projects that abet the extraction of hydrocarbon resources are accessories to the entrenchment of Turkmenistan’s and Kazakhstan’s economies in an environmentally perilous, centrally controlled, resource-dependent rut—a poor path to sustainable development.

For more information about Crude Accountability’s work and to read the full report, please go to

Crude Press Release

Said Yakhyoev: 202-713-9702,
Kate Watters: 571-332-5895,