In the summer of last year, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) approved a €60 million loan to Serinus Energy for financing the development of four oil and gas fields in Tunisia (Sabria, Chouech Essaida, Ech Chouechand Sanrahr) between 2013 and 2017.
Among the motivations for this loan, the EBRD quotes „supporting further development of a small private independent company in Tunisia, where the state-owned enterprise still dominates the production of hydrocarbons”. This small private independent company is Serinus Energy, „an entity resulting from the re-organisation of Kulczyk Oil Ventures Inc (“KOV”) following the completion of its acquisition of Winstar Resources Limited (“Winstar”), a Canadian company that owns the assets in Tunisia to be financed by the project”.
More information about the EBRD financed project is available on the EBRD page: http://www.ebrd.com/english/pages/project/psd/2013/44744.shtml
The claim that Serinus Energy is a small independent company which needs public support is highly questionable. Serinus Energy was formerly named Kulczyk Oil Ventures, an oil and gas transnational.
See the structure of Serinus Energy and its links to the EBRD: http://bankwatch.org/bwmail/59/former-ebrd-president-implicated-banks-co...
Jan Kulczyk is one of Poland's richest people, with companies active in almost every conceivable sector – from real estate through brewing to infrastructure (highway construction) and natural resources – and spanning all six continents. Objectively, it is a hard sell to maintain that a Kulczyk company is not able to obtain financing from private sources.
With an estimated net worth of USD 3.9 billion, Kulczyk is ranked 402 on the World’s Billionaire list by Forbes. Kulczyk Investments – the parent company of Serinus Energy – is heavily involved in shale gas exploration and production both through San Leon Energy, which holds 83 concessions for both natural and unconventional gas exploration in Poland, Albania, Morocco, Spain, Ireland, France, Italy, Romania and Germany, and through Serinus Energy itself. In fact the first EBRD loan to Serinus Energy (at that time still Kulczyk Oil Ventures) is believed to have allowed it to become the first company from central and eastern Europe to have carried out hydraulic fracturing.
Serinus Energy is expected to attempt drilling for shale gas in Tunisia.
Billionaire Jan Kulczyk is the promoter of many energy projects around the world, many with controversial environmental impact.
In his native Poland, Kulczyk is financing among others the Elektrownia Północ coal power plant, also known as the North Power Plant in Pomerania, Poland, planned to become Europe’s largest coal plant. If built, the EP plant would emit around 10 mln tons of CO2 annually.
Last Friday, Polish activists delivered to Kulczyk a petition in which over 8,000 European citizens are demanding an end to this polluting coal plant.
Diana Maciaga of the EP campaign said: “Thousands of people are indignant at the discrepancy between Dr Kulczyk’s words and deeds. We are here today to demonstrate that the double dealings of Kulczyk Investments won’t go unnoticed. We appeal to Dr Kulczyk to walk the talk and invest in clean energy solutions.”
Back in Tunisia, local NGOs have already noted that communities living next to drilling platforms have not been consulted as of the end of this April, nine months after the approval of the loans for Serinus Energy by the EBRD's board of directors.
Worryingly, the EBRD projects covering the financing for Serinus Energy has been deemed a „category B” project by the EBRD, which means that investors expect limited environmental impact of this project and hence limited environmental impact assessment procedures will be conducted before starting works.
But, according to local Tunisian groups, “the exploitation of shale gas requires massive amounts of water and chemicals and could have disastrous consequences in a country that faces serious water scarcity such as Tunisia,” and “the type of shale identified in the Serinus Energy concessions in Tunisia is 'hot shale' which means that the rock is radioactive. Radioactive particles mix into the fracking fluid and drilling mud, and are brought to the surface.”
Kuba Gogolewski, CEE Bankwatch Network: "That the Serinus Energy project in Tunisia financed by the EBRD is a small project with limited environmental impact is a lie. The people of Tunisia should not be fooled by this rhetoric but instead should look to countries like Poland and Ukraine where Kulczyk is planning other disastruous energy investments and where local communities are outraged. Oil and gas drilling is a massive deal which should happen with scrutiny and control by the Tunisians, starting from the communities closest to the planned exploitation sites.”