WASHINGTON - April 22 - The Institute for Policy Studies released a report today that shows most oil projects supported by the World Bank supply industrialized country consumption not developing countries' energy needs and almost all benefit large corporations based in those countries. Halliburton leads the pack of companies benefiting from World Bank energy lending.
"The Energy Tug-of-War: Winners and Losers in World Bank Fossil Fuel Finance" exposes the leading beneficiaries of 133 financial packages, worth over $10.7 billion, approved by the World Bank Group since 1992. The report was written by the Sustainable Energy and Economy Network, a project of the Institute for Policy Studies.
The World Bank-commissioned Extractive Industries Review (EIR) recently recommended that "The World Bank Group should phase out investments in oil production by 2008." This week, at the World Bank Spring Meetings, civil society representatives will meet with World Bank President JamesWolfensohn and others to urge them to adopt the Review's recommendations. Although the Bank is reportedly considering many of the recommendations, the oil phase-out, in particular, has been met with stiff resistance the bank's management.
"World Bank staff contend that they must keep supporting Big Oil to provide energy for the poor and alleviate poverty" said Steve Kretzmann of the Institute for Policy Studies and a co-author of the report. "This new study shows that Halliburton, not the poor, stands to lose the most ifWorld Bank support for oil is eliminated."
Among the study's key findings regarding World Bank fossil fuel finance since 1992:
-No company has benefited more than Halliburton. IPS research identified thirteen projects, supported by over $2.5 billion of World Bank finance, in which Halliburton is involved, as a contractor, developer or investor.
-Six of the top 12 beneficiaries are U.S. corporations: Halliburton, Chevron, Texaco, ExxonMobil, Bechtel, Unocal, and Enron. The United States government is the largest World Bank shareholder.
-Most of the oil feeds the global North's growing demand, and does nothing to provide energy for poor nations. The IPS examination of the Bank's portfolio finds that 82 percent of these projects are export-oriented.
"World Bank oil finance is consistent with long established Washington-driven goals for energy lending: to diversify oil supplies for Northern consumption, and to open developing country oil fields to Northern companies. In this regard, the World Bank has carried out its mission with precision and success," said Jim Vallette of the Institute for Policy Studies and the report's co-author.
The report is available online at the Sustainable Energy and Economy Network. SEEN is a project of the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington.