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As if the Dakota Access Pipeline project didn’t already have enough problems, Norwegian bank DNB, is rethinking its earlier decision to doll out $342.36 million in loans to construct the pipeline—a figure that represents about 10 percent of the project’s total, according to Norwegian daily Aftenposten.
The bank did not comment on the amount of financing under review.
In addition to DNB, pension funds for over 650,000 Norwegians managed by the National Local Government Pension Fund (KLP) also hold stake in companies that own DAPL. KLP is now reviewing the matter as serious and will attempt to discuss with the companies “behind the project who are accused of violating human rights.”
In what appears to be solidarity with the Native Americans protesting the pipeline, along with various celebrities who have also latched onto the cause, as well as Anonymous, DNB said late on Sunday that it would rescind its offer to financing a portion of the project if the concerns of the Native American tribes currently opposing the pipeline’s construction go unaddressed.
“DNB looks with worry at how the situation around the pipeline in North Dakota has developed. The bank will therefore take initiative and use its position to bring about a more constructive process to find a solution to the conflict,” read a statement issued by the bank, adding that it would “consider its further involvement in the financing of the project” if “these initiatives do not give appeasing answers and results,” according to a statement.
DNB is one of 38 banks financing the DAPL project directly, which include Citibank, Wells Fargo, BNP Paribas, SunTrust, Royal Bank of Scotland, TD Securities, ABN AMRO Capital, DNB First Bank (separate from DNB) to name but a few.
Last week, a spokesman for Norway’s Oil Fund, which holds stakes in several of the companies that own DAPL, also issued a statement saying that although they don’t have a direct investment in DAPL, “we expect that companies in which we invest respect human rights and keep them in consideration in their business activities.”
DNB’s statement, along with KLP’s and Norway’s Oil Fund’s, could be a harbinger of even more hurdles that DAPL must face if lenders go back on investments in the face of mounting public pressure.
By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com
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Julianne Geiger is a veteran editor, writer and researcher for US-based Divergente LLC consulting firm, and a member of the Creative Professionals Networking Group.