SEE ALSO: Britain Sells £86m Of Arms To Russia
UK government ‘has given $2.7bn to fossil-fuel projects’
By Christopher Hopson in London
Friday, January 09 2015
The Greenpeace Energydesk analysis of government data reveals that the money was used for taxpayer-funded export subsidies to help British firms win contracts in the oil, gas and coal sectors.
The largest beneficiary of UK export funds is Brazil’s oil giant Petrobras, which was given a guarantee for a $1bn line of credit in 2012, most of which has now been drawn.
Petrobras is embroiled in a corruption scandal that has seen some of its officials investigated for taking bribes from engineering firms in return for contracts.
A large chunk of the financial support pledged over the past four years – about £430m – has gone to deals involving Russian companies. These include credit guarantees for a £58.4m deal between US extraction giant Joy Mining Machinery and Russia’s largest coal producer, SUEK.
Together with two other Russian firms, SUEK supplied much of the UK’s coal imports last year, worth about £1bn, according to government figures.
The British government also provided guarantees for a $367m loan to Russia’s state-controlled Gazprom to buy gas pumping equipment from Rolls-Royce Power Engineering.
UK Export Finance is a government agency that has financially supported fossil-fuel projects, despite apparently contravening a 2010 agreement between the governing coalition’s two partners that supported green technologies over fossil fuels.
The coalition manifesto stated that the new government would use export credit guarantees for “innovative and green technologies, instead of supporting investment in dirty fossil-fuel energy production”.
At a UN climate summit in New York last September, Prime Minister David Cameron condemned what he called “the economically and environmentally perverse fossil-fuel subsidies which distort free markets and rip off taxpayers”.
Greenpeace UK senior energy campaigner Louise Hutchins comments: “The coalition came to power promising to use UK export funds to champion Britain’s clean-energy tech, but has instead ended up bankrolling some of the world’s dirtiest industries.”