French banks disavow Total’s EACOP plans

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Three French banks have pledged not to provide project financing for the East African crude oil pipeline (EACOP) piloted by Total.

BNP Paribas, Société Générale and Crédit Agricole will not participate, French newspaper Les Echos reported.

“The project is too difficult to defend,” Les Echos said, citing an anonymous source.

A statement from Reclaim Finance noted that Barclays, Credit Suisse and ANZ had also said they would avoid the EACOP plan.

The environmental NGO called on Natixis to follow suit.

BankTrack researcher Ryan Brightwell called on Standard Bank, SMBC and ICBC “to take these concerns seriously and withdraw their support.”

Total committed to the development of Lake Albert, which includes EACOP, on April 11. However, he has not concluded talks on securing the expected $ 2.5 billion in funding that would be needed to build the longest heated pipeline in the world.

Crédit Agricole provided $ 7.3 billion in financing to Total between 2016 and 2020, while BNP Paribas provided nearly $ 6 billion. The four French banks in total have provided more than $ 16 billion to Total, he said.

Amundi, of which Crédit Agricole is the largest shareholder, is Total’s second largest shareholder after BlackRock.

A wider thrust

Reclaim Finance founder Lucie Pinson welcomed the move, saying it was “a blow to this polluting and unfair pipeline. Natixis and the other international banks should now follow their example. “

Pinson added that banks should not fund Total’s new oil and gas projects, while shareholders should vote against the company’s climate strategy.

Total holds its general meeting on May 28. Shareholders will vote on Total’s carbon neutrality projects by 2050, with a 15% reduction by 2030.

Reclaim Finance criticized Total for not having integrated its scope 3 emissions into its carbon neutrality plans outside Europe.

The NGO said voting at Total’s AGM was about communication. “Total does not need to be encouraged to communicate on its climate strategy; Total must be encouraged to adopt a climate strategy compatible with a viable climate trajectory ”, said.

Shell is also holding a vote on its climate ambitions in May and has been criticized for its plans.

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