Chad/Cameroon Development Project

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Construction of the Chad/Cameroon Development Project began in late 2000. According to the Project Overview, the Chad/Cameroon Development Project "is developing oilfields in southern Chad, a landlocked country in west Africa, and building a 1,070 kilometer (663 miles) underground pipeline to a marine terminal off the coast of Cameroon. The pipeline is needed to export Chad's oil to world markets. As much as one billion barrels of crude will be produced over the 25- to 30-year life of the project.

"Chad does not have the financial capacity or the oil industry expertise to develop its energy resources by itself. Therefore, the country sought international private sector assistance in undertaking the project. A consortium comprised of affiliates of ExxonMobil, Petronas and ChevronTexaco agreed to sponsor the project , with ExxonMobil affiliate, EssoChad, serving as the operator. Construction costs are estimated at US$3.5 billion (2,275 billion Central African Francs or FCFA)."

"A workforce of as many as 11,000 people has been developing the oil fields in southern Chad and building the 1070-kilometer pipeline to the coast of Cameroon needed to export Chad's crude to world markets."[1]

The birth of the West African oil industry was announced in an October 5, 2003, news story (pdf)/(html) from Yaounde, Cameroon, by Associated Press Writer Emmanuel Tumanjong -- "1st Crude Shipped in West Africa Project":

The first oil tanker "carrying the first 950,000 barrels left the Cameroon port of Kribi for world markets on Friday," October 3. The oil, which originated in the "landlocked nation of Chad," arrived in Cameroon via a massive 665-mile pipeline constructed at a cost of $3.7 billion. "The pipeline project included development of 300 wells in the Doba oil fields in southern Chad. The oil fields are estimated to hold reserves of more than 900 million barrels."

The pipeline was "conceived in 1996" with support from the Bill Clinton administration... [and] developed by an international consortium, with ExxonMobile holding a 40 percent stake, Malaysia's Petronas 35 percent, and ChevronTexaco 25 percent." Funded in part by the World Bank (3%), the oil pipeline project is "aimed at developing West African oil as an alternative to Mideast supplies" ... [and represents] "the World Bank's largest-ever investment in sub-Saharan Africa." According to Tumanjong, the President George Walker Bush administration, "hopeful of lessening U.S. dependence on Mideast oil, has pushed development of West Africa's industry."

"West Africa, led by Nigeria, already supplies the United States with about one-fifth of its oil -- roughly equal to Saudi Arabia's share of the U.S. market."

"The World Bank has set up an independent monitoring panel to oversee accounting -- an unprecedented undertaking in a region known for corruption, plutocracy and environmental disasters. Other financiers include the European Investment Bank, US Export-Import Bank, the French export credit agency COFACE and a group of private banks led by Dutch ABN-Amro and Credit Agricole Indosuez."

"Backers say daily production will hit 250,000 barrels at peak and revenues could reach $2 billion for Chad and $500 million for Cameroon over the projected 25-year production period. ... Chad's leaders have pledged to invest the majority of expected oil revenues in programs to lift the country out of poverty and to develop health, educational, and agricultural sectors. ... International environmental organizations, notably in the United States and Germany, have called the project a danger to Cameroon's rain forest and to Pygmies living there."

According to MBendi Profile: Information for Africa, the "Related Organisations" for the Project are:

Also see MBendi Profile links and information on the Project.

From the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) web site:

"For several years before the [World] Bank approved the project on June 6, 2000, civil society organizations in Chad and Cameroon were calling for a moratorium on this project, asking that the Bank invest first in the infrastructure that is necessary for sustainable development: good governance, independent judiciary, rule of law, involvement of civil society in government decision-making, respect for human rights, and environmental protection. Without these safeguards in place, local communities believe that the Chad/Cameroon pipeline project is a recipe for disaster particularly in light of the poor human rights record and rampant corruption."

See CIEL's web site for numerous links and more information on the Chad/Cameroon Development Project.

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