Protesters target BNP in Paris over loan to oil company

PARIS, Jan 20 (Reuters) – Protesters from the movement End Rebellion gathered outside BNP Paribas. (BNPP.PA) building in Paris on Friday to protest the French bank’s loan to an oil giant leading an East African oil pipeline project.

About 40 participants defaced the sign of the BNP office in the center of the Opera quarters with firecrackers and blocked a nearby road with a joke called “STOP EACOP”. Fourteen protesters were arrested by the police, the group said.

EACOP is the acronym for the $3.5 billion East African Petroleum Pipeline, a project managed by France’s TotalEnergies. (TTEF.PA) its construction licenses it was approved by Ugandan authorities on Thursday.

Extinction Rebellion said its protest, which was joined by other campaign groups including Friday for the Future, was organized to coincide with the start of TotalEnergies drilling exploratory oil wells in Uganda’s Murchison Falls National Park.

Extinction Rebellion says the national park is “the most biodiverse” in Uganda.

EACOP will extend 1,443 kilometers (897 miles) from Uganda to Tanzania, with plans to send 246,000 barrels of crude oil per day to the international market through the port of Tanga in early 2025. .

A spokesperson for TotalEnergies said that although one-third of the project is in Murchison Falls, the oil development activities are only one square kilometer, which is about 0.03% of the national park.

“TotalEnergies is very aware of the sensitivity of the area in which it operates and is willing to take the necessary measures to avoid, reduce, compensate its effects on it,” said the spokesperson.

BNP Paribas decided not to finance the EACOP project in 2021, but last year it participated in a one-year loan of $ 8 billion to TotalEnergies as one of the many banks.

One respondent, referring to the loan, said “this open check allows TotalEnergies to fully finance whatever it wants, so BNP Paribas cannot directly guarantee the project but remains the second-largest financial partner.”

In a statement on Friday, the bank said it is “supporting energy companies that are strongly motivated to change their model… to reinvest in low carbon energy sources.” The bank has a goal of financing 30 billion euros ($32.5 billion) of renewable energy projects by 2025.

($1 = 0.9234 euros)

Reporting by Sarah Meyssonnier and America Hernandez Editing by Silvia Aloisi and Mark Potter

Our Terms: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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