- Insurance providers Argo Group and Axis Capital, both Lloyd’s of London members, and RSA Insurance Group Limited, a leading UK insurer, have informed the #StopEACOP coalition that they will not be involved in underwriting the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) project.
The decision by the three firms brings to 11 the total number of (re)insurers who have committed not to provide insurance coverage for the EACOP project. This is significant because the project needs substantial levels of international (re)insurance to proceed. The firms cite the EACOP project’s potential impact on people, nature and climate as among the reasons for their refusal to underwrite the project.
The EACOP and the associated Tilenga and Kingfisher oil fields are faced with widespread resistance locally in Uganda and Tanzania and globally, with over 1 million people signing a global petition against the projects. The planned pipeline is displacing tens of thousands of households in Uganda and Tanzania.
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The EACOP, its associated upstream oil projects and related infrastructure such as roads, pose a threat to livelihoods, local cultures, sensitive ecosystems and wildlife, including endangered species in the Lake Victoria basin, Budongo forest, Murchison Falls National Park, Biharamulo Game Reserve and others.
The news comes against the backdrop of a worldwide concern that oil companies are making a killing by harming the environment and leaving communities where their projects exist languishing in poverty.
A recent report noted that the EACOP presents various violations of the IFC Performance Standards and Equator Principles in terms of both human rights and climate impacts.
Author: Bryan Groenendaal