This investigation reveals how a multi-million dollar investment from the World Bank into an oil & gas company involved in controversial drilling in Kenya went ahead, despite vocal objections from the U.S. Treasury Department, and four months after a damaging oil spill at one of the sites.
In 2015, the World Bank bought a 6.8% stake in Africa Oil Corp, a Canadian based oil and gas company, for CAD $65 million despite opposition to the deal by the U.S. Treasury Department. The purchase was made via a sister organisation, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the investment arm of the World Bank, of which the U.S., as well as other nations, are shareholders.
Four months previously hundreds of barrels of oil had leaked at one of the sites. The incident was noted by an independent monitoring group hired by the IFC to check operations run by Africa Oil Corp and partners. The group submitted regular reports from 2016 to May this year, raising concerns about the environmental and social impact of the operations.
The findings shed light on the scale of environmental issues at stake, reinforcing the objections the U.S. Treasury Department raised before the deal was finalised, and question marks have been raised over how much the U.S. and other shareholders were told about the shortcomings.
cover image by Waldemar Brandt on Unsplash
Revealed: Kenyan Oil Project Had Environmental Concerns Months Ahead of World Bank Investment - DeSmog UK, 23 December 2020