press release Taman

World Bank Auditors Visit Taman in Regard to the Tamanneftegas Oil and Gas Terminal

The International Finance Corporation’s Office of Compliance, Advisor/Ombudsman (CAO) is investigating a complaint filed by environmentalists who contend that a USD $100 million loan was given to Tamanneftegas in violation of World Bank standards.

Representatives of the IFC’s Office of Compliance, Advisor/Ombudsman traveled to Russia’s Taman Peninsula last week to conduct a compliance audit of the complaint lodged in November 2007 by “Environmental Watch on the North Caucasus” and “Saving Taman!”—the first complaint ever received by the CAO from Russia. The complaint outlines serious violations of World Bank standards concerning the environmental categorization of the Russkii Mir 2 project, for which Tamanneftegas received a $100 million IFC loan to construct a major oil and gas terminal near the village of Volna on the Taman Peninsula.

The complainants assert that the IFC miscategorized Russkii Mir 2 as a Category B project, rather than an environmental dangerous Category A project, without taking into consideration the serious risks the project imposes on the fragile environment of the Peninsula, the rich cultural heritage of the region, and the residents of Taman. Had the project been labeled Category A, broad public consultation processes and, ultimately, public support would have been required before the IFC could make any funding decisions. Given that the Russkii Mir 2 project is extremely unpopular among the public—and has been since the project’s conceptualization—any authentic public consultation process would have revealed this public opposition, making IFC financing of the oil and gas terminal not a viable option.

It was precisely the public consultation process that proved the stumbling block for the potential investment project of the Toliattiazot company, which tried to obtain a loan from the IFC and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) for an ammonia project on the Taman Peninsula. Toliattiazot was unable to obtain a loan.

Based on the findings of its audit, the CAO’s office will make public a report this summer with respect to noncompliance and any adverse social and environmental outcomes of the IFC-funded project.

For more information on this environmentally devastating project, please our Taman Campaign page.

Crude Press Release
June 4, 2009
Contact: Kate Watters