LONDON (UK) / LAGOS (NIGERIA) November 22, 2004 — Friends of the Earth International is calling on the World Bank to delay approval of the West Africa Gas Pipeline project (WAGP) when it votes on the issue tomorrow (Tuesday 23 Nov), arguing that it goes directly against the Bank’s commitment to combating climate change, consulting with communities and revenue transparency.

Press Release
Friends of the Earth International

The 690-kilometer pipeline will take gas from oil fields in Nigeria to markets in Benin, Togo and Ghana but the World Bank has not required sponsors to minimise gas flaring from the pipeline. Gas flaring is a by-product of oil extraction – in Nigeria the process produces more greenhouse gas emissions than all of sub-Saharan Africa combined and is a major source of pollutants that are hazardous to human health.

The WAGP has been touted by the World Bank, Chevron Texaco and Shell, as a project that will help end gas flaring but project sponsors have not made any commitments on how much reduction citizens in the Niger Delta will see once the WAGP is in operation. In fact, Shell will be extracting natural gas for transport in the WAGP, not capturing associated gas that will be flared.

According to Friends of the Earth the project should be delayed until its design reflects both the spirit and letter of Bank commitments to combat climate change and require individual company reporting of revenues paid to the Nigerian government.

The World Bank recently committed to increasing investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency by 20 percent annually over the next five years. Asume Isaac of Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria said:
“It simply defies logic for the Bank to increase investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency to combat climate change on the one hand, while failing to maximize the gas flaring reduction potential of projects like WAGP on the other,”

The World Bank Board also committed to requiring revenue and contract transparency for all large oil and gas projects and for smaller projects within two years, however, the Bank has not made revenue transparency a requirement for the WAGP, citing is not a “large” project.

Hannah Ellis, International Financial Institutions Campaigner at Friends of the Earth England, Wales & Northern Ireland said:
“The West African Gas Pipeline is a prime example of how World Bank rhetoric differs from on the ground reality. The World Bank has said it will consult with communities, ensure transparent revenues and minimize environmental risk – why is this not happening?”


Friends of the Earth
Asume Isaac in Nigeria Tel +324-803 309 9494
Noble Wadzah in Ghana Tel +233-21 512 312

In Europe :
Hannah Ellis in London Tel+44-7952 876929
Longgena Ginting in the Netherlands Tel +31-6-18846365