A Chatham House event last Thursday[1] launched the new report “Unpaid Debt: The Legacy of Lundin, Petronas and OMV in Sudan, 1997-2003,”[2] on the role of oil companies in fuelling war and atrocities in Sudan.

A group of aid agencies that worked in Sudan during the civil war, the European Coalition on Oil in Sudan (ECOS)[3], have called for an investigation into possible complicity by oil companies including Lundin in the commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Royal Bank of Scotland’s support for Lundin Petroleum stretches back to late 2007, when PLATFORM research[4] uncovered a $1 billion loan underwritten by the bank to support Lundin’s operations in East Africa, when the oil company was already under significant pressure for its role in bankrolling the Sudanese regime.

“Unpaid Debt” includes new evidence showing that the companies, in particular Lundin Petroleum, “enabled the commission of war crimes”. The report says that the start of oil exploration in Block 5A in Southern Sudan set off a spiral of violence as the Sudanese government and forces loyal to them set out to assert control of the oil fields. Thousands of inhabitants died, and almost 200,000 people were violently displaced. Atrocities included killings, rape, child abduction, torture, the destruction of schools, markets and clinics and the burning of food and shelter. During this period, Lundin constructed an air strip, which the local Governor admitted was used by military bombers to arbitrarily raided nearby villages for years.

Memos referenced include this on page 78:

“Subject: Guarding of the Oil Companies 
1. Reference is made to the above-mentioned subject brigade 28 Rubkona is instructed to provide all you asked for (weapon, ammunition artilleries commodity supplies) according to the list. […]
3. In regards to vehicles, oil companies will avail some cash through Ministry of Energy and Mining.
4. You are now to clean all the villages and pockets of the rebels that are near areas of exploration up to Gogrial’s border.”
Instructions from Col. Ibrahim Shams el Din, State Minister of National Defence, to Maj. Gen. Matiep, July 27, 1998, as
filed in the US District Court.313″

Endnotes:
  1. last Thursday: http://www.chathamhouse.org.uk/events/view/-/id/1572/
  2. “Unpaid Debt: The Legacy of Lundin, Petronas and OMV in Sudan, 1997-2003,”: http://www.ecosonline.org/reports/2010/UNPAID_DEBT_fullreportweb.pdf
  3. the European Coalition on Oil in Sudan (ECOS): http://www.ecosonline.org/reports/2010/Press_release_UNPAID_DEBT/
  4. PLATFORM research: https://www.platformlondon.org/carbonweb/showitem.asp?article=325&parent=321