Suncorp and QBE rule out East Africa crude oil pipeline

Suncorp and QBE rule out East Africa crude oil pipeline | Insurance Business Australia

Suncorp and QBE rule out East Africa crude oil pipeline

Suncorp and QBE have joined other major insurance providers in ruling out underwriting the controversial East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) project.

The EACOP is a 1,443-kilometre pipeline planned for Uganda and Tanzania. According to environmental advocates at Market Forces, the project threatens to displace thousands of families and farmers from their land and poses significant risks to water resources and wetlands in Uganda and Tanzania, ripping through numerous sensitive biodiversity hotspots. Additionally, oil transported via the pipeline is expected to generate 34 million tons of carbon emissions each year.

Karyn Munsie, executive general manager at Suncorp, told Coal Action Network (UK) in an email that the insurance giant will “no longer directly underwrite new or additional oil and gas projects.”

“I can confirm that this rules out the East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline,” Munsie added.

Viv Bower, group executive of corporate affairs and sustainability at QBE, told Coal Action Network (UK): “Based on our assessment of the project as it is currently proposed, there are a number of elements that do not comply with our environmental and social risk framework and preclude us from underwriting this project.”

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Suncorp and QBE are joined by Helvetia, Aspen, and Generali and follow five other insurance companies who ruled out the EACOP in the past month, totalling 16 insurance companies that have distanced themselves from the controversial project.

“Ruling out underwriting a destructive oil pipeline project is a positive step. It's critical for a safer future that insurers like QBE update their climate policies to end insurance for all new oil and gas projects and any companies involved,” said Pablo Brait, campaigner at Market Forces in Australia.

Omar Elmawi, co-ordinator of the StopEACOP campaign in Kenya, added: “There is growing rejection of EACOP, which is mired in human rights violations, lacking in free prior and informed consent. Lending or underwriting this project is wrong, shameful, and unacceptable. The (re)insurers and banks that are still considering or are committed to underwriting EACOP cannot claim innocence; they are on the side of the human rights violators, and this, therefore, makes them complicit.”