Index for June 2005

Volume 4, Issue 7

  • Talking Export Credits at the European Commission

    June 22, 2005 (Source: ECA Watch) — Today the ECA Watch campaign participant FERN organized a meeting with the EU's Council Working Group on Export Credits in Brussels. Civil society representatives highlighted four key issues. Their presentations are outlined below.
        A. Introduction by FERN [PDF]
    Judith Neyer introduced the ECA campaigners and the issues to be discussed.
        B. ECAs and Human Rights [PPT]
    Fraser Reilly-King of the Halifax Initiative, Canada, made a 10-slide PowerPoint presentation on why ECAs should be examining the human rights implications of their export credits and insurance, and made suggestions on how they could take better account of human rights.
        C. ECAs and Corruption [PDF]
    Dr. Susan Hawley of The Cornerhouse, UK, presented a brief on combatting bribery in export credits, with an agenda for 2005.
        D. ECAs and Transparency [PDF]
    Regine Richter of Urgewald, Germany, presented a brief on transparency and how a changing legal and political framework places new obligations on export credit agencies.
        E. ECAs and Renewable Energy - the Question of Guidelines for Hydropower [PPT]
    Dr. Ute Collier of WWF-UK made a 12-slide PowerPoint presentation on a role for ECAs in promoting good practice for hydropower. In addition, the IUCN [PDF] and Professor Ted Scudder have made representations to the OECD Working Group on Export Credits concerning dams, the World Commission on Dams and renewable energy subsidies.

Volume 4, Issue 6

  • BTC Pipeline Update

    The UK ECA, the Export Credits Guarantee Department (ECGD) is backing the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline with £60M public money.
        A. New Reports Find BTC Unsafe
    May 24, 2005 (Source: Friends of the Earth & CEE Bankwatch) — Two reports released ahead of the BTC pipeline 'opening' ceremony in Baku reveal significant concerns regarding the environmental and social damage being caused by the ECA-backed project in Azerbaijan and Georgia.
        B. Russians Skeptical About BTC
    June 2, 2005 (RIA Novosti, Russia) — BTC's looming under-usage threatens to turn the USD $3B "project of the century" into a big waste of money, smelling of mineral water and revolutionary flowers. The BTC is the longest US-supported pipeline and bypasses both Russia and Iran.
        C. Now That Oil Flow Has Begun: the BTC Explained
    May 26, 2005 (Guardian, UK) — A useful "Q & A" summary of the pipeline's scope and impact, as well as the alarms raised by environmentalists over shoddy construction and human rights practices.
        D. BTC Avoids Risks of Russia
    May 26, 2005 (International Herald Tribune/ NYT) — Human Rights Watch calls attention to Azeri human rights abuses while the US calls attention to its new, more secure source of oil.
        E. BP's Timebomb
    June 2, 2005 (Source: Corpwatch) — Though British Petroleum (BP) has been working hard to remake its public image, in reality it is the world's third-largest oil and gas company— one of the largest polluters on the globe. BP’s profits come with enormous human cost and environmental damages, and its latest venture — the newly-opened BTC pipeline — has done little to make amends.
        F. Casualties of the Oil Stampede Along the BTC
    June 15, 2005 (Guardian, UK) — The 1,100-mile-long BTC Pipeline is a classic example of pretensions to corporate social responsibility claimed by the BP consortium being trampled by the stampede for oil. Political commentary by the former (1997-2003) Environment Minister for the UK, Michael Meacher.
  • Sakhalin II Update

    The Sakhalin II project is seeking up to USD $5B from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and Export Credit Agencies (ECAs) of the US, UK and Japan.
        A. Gazprom Announces New 25% Share in Sakhalin II
    June 10, 2005 (MosNews, Russia) — Gazprom announced the firm was very close to concluding a long-awaited deal, under which it would take 25 percent of the Sakhalin II project. Shell would lose its majority holding in Sakhalin Energy, the project operator, but gain a stake in Gazprom’s West Siberian Zapolyarnoye gas field.
        B. Concrete Platform Begins Journey to Sakhalin II Field
    June 15, 2005 ( — The concrete gravity base substructure (CGBS) for the Sakhalin II Project's Lunskoye-A (LUN-A) platform has begun its epic journey to Sakhalin after being towed out of dry dock in Nakhodka. The Lunskoye CGBS and its sister CGBS for the Piltun (PA-B) platform, to be installed later this year, are among the largest concrete structures ever built in Russia.
        C. Toho Gas to Buy Sakhalin II LNG
    June 7, 2005 (Japan Times Online) — The Japanese gas utility Toho Gas Co. has concluded an agreement to buy up to 500,000 tons of liquefied natural gas a year from the operator of the Sakhalin 2 gas and oil project.
        D. Japan to Receive Half of Sakhalin II LNG
    May 31, 2005 (RIA Novosti, Russia) — Sakhalin Energy has signed its fifth contract for LNG with a Japanese firm, this time with Hiroshima Gas Co Ltd. This Japanese company will annually receive about 210,000 metric tons of liquefied natural gas for 20 years. All told, about half of all Sakhalin II LNG will go to Japan.
  • June 15, 2005 (Source: ECA Watch) — An independent dam expert has raised concerns about lax standards for new and existing dams in a letter to the OECD. As environmental campaigners up efforts to convince ECAs to precondition hydro power project finance on compliance with the World Commission on Dams (WCD) 2000 report standards, an ex-member of the WCD has written to the OECD secretariat supporting WCD safeguards over those of the World Bank.
  • May 26, 2005 (Oil Online) — The ECA US Export Import Bank has approved a USD $39M loan guarantee to support the sale of US equipment to be installed on one of the world's largest oil production platforms off the coast of Brazil.
  • May 16, 2005 (Harold Doan) — The Export-Import Bank of the United States is making efforts to enhance its environmental exports programs and emphasize renewable energy projects in its portfolio, according to Linda Conlin, a board member of the Bank. Read Conlin's speech at the 2005 Hydro Finance Forum.
  • June 6, 2005 (Mid East North Africa Financial Network) — Given that nuclear technology sales to China would help the United States address its massive trade imbalance with the Chinese, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission has cleared the transfer of technology while the US Export-Import bank has approved USD $5B in loan guarantees to support China's nuclear industry.
  • May 24, 2005 (, India) — The plan to restart the ill-starred Dabhol power project has received another blow with two of the 19 foreign banks involved in financing the plant refusing to sign the proposed settlement with Indian banks. The settlement plan included steps to buy out the exposures of two export credit agencies -- Japanese Exim and US ExIm, and then OPIC's USD $225M exposure. Also read "Is Dabhol to Blame for Maharashtra's Woes?" (May 19, 2005,
  • May 27, 2005 (, UK) — An ECGD-backed water project in Tanzania has been cancelled by the government, causing the British water company Biwater to file suit against the country. The contract was cancelled after complaints that the water supply had gotten worse, not better, since the contract was awarded.
  • May 27, 2005 (Xinhuanet, China) — The Brazilian state-owned oil company Petrobras has announced the signing of four agreements with Japan, including one establishing a strategic partnership between the firm and the Japanese Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), consolidating old ties between the two institutions.
  • June 14, 2005 (Source: ECA Watch) — A number of news items in the press this month highlight the important role of export credit agencies in the finance of new aircraft, primarily from Boeing and AirBus, but with some competition from Bombardier of Canada and Embraer of Brazil, especially for regional passenger jets. ECAs spent USD $7.3B for air transport in 2003, up 9% from 2002 but down 4.5% on the 6 year average from 1998 to 2003.
  • June 16, 2005 (Source: ECA Watch [FERN, WEED]) — Turkish community representatives have gone to Brussels to ask the EU to monitor plans for the Ilisu dam as Turkey progresses toward membership, claiming that the project doesn't meet EU environmental and cultural heritage directives. The infamous dam, first proposed in 2000, was beset by problems forcing the business consortium behind it to collapse. A new consortium was formed in May 2004 led by VA Tech/ Siemens (Austria). Several export credit agencies have been asked to back the project. Read a May 16, 2005, press release from the Iranian Cultural Heritage News Agency, Iran, "Renewed Dam Project Threatens Historic Site in Turkey"