Aiding Oil, Harming the Climate: A Database of Public Funds for Fossil Fuels
Oil Change International
December 2007

Download the full report, Aiding Oil, Harming the Climate, (PDF)

This report, based on the End Oil Aid database, quantifies the magnitude of subsidies from governments going to the oil and gas industry internationally via international financial institutions, often in the name of poverty alleviation.

Key Findings of Aiding Oil, Harming the Climate:

  • At least $61.3 billion in international money has gone to subsidizing the oil and gas and industries worldwide since 2000.
  • Since 2000, the U.S. is the #1 provider of aid to the oil industry worldwide, with some $15.6 billion in oil aid distributed by the US Export-Import Bank, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, the US Trade and Development Agency, the United States Agency for International Development and the United States Maritime Administration. The Export- Import Bank of the US alone provided more than $12.3 billion in public funds to the oil and gas industry.
  • European institutions collectively outspent the US with $16.5 billion. Two institutions in particular
  • provided the vast majority: The European Investment Bank provided $7.3 billion in financing and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development $5.6 billion. This is particularly noteworthy in light of the fact that on November 29, 2007, the European Parliament overwhelmingly passed a resolution calling for an end to fossil fuel financing by the European Investment Bank and European ECAs.
  • Since 2000, Mexico is the largest recipient of oil aid ($8.27 billion), followed by Russia ($4.4 billion), Indonesia ($3.1 billion), Iran ($2.79 billion), Brazil ($2.56 billion) and Venezuela ($2.34 billion).
  • The World Bank Group remains the single largest multilateral leader in oil aid, with about $8 billion since 2000. Recent analysis by the End Oil Aid coalition has revealed very disturbing trends at the Bank:

In 2006, the World Bank increased its energy sector commitments from $2.8 billion to $4.4 billion. Oil, gas and power sector commitments account for 77 per cent of the total energy sector program while ‘new renewables’ account for only 5 per cent.

In 2007, the International Finance Corporation private-sector lending arm of the World Bank provided more than $645 million to oil and gas companies. This is an increase of at least 40 per cent from 2006.

In 2006, the IFC increased its support for oil projects by 77 per cent, and for gas projects by 53 per cent. At the same time, support for fossil fuels generally at the World Bank Group increased by 93 per cent. While support for renewables and efficiency together in the Bank Group also increased at this time, it was only by 46 per cent.

More than 80 per cent of the World Bank Group’s oil extraction projects since 1992 are designed for export, rather than the alleviation of energy poverty.

The $61.3 billion in oil aid is in addition to the estimated $150-$250 billion in domestic subsidies that national governments provide to their oil and gas industries annually, according to the recent Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change. They also do not include any of the costs of military operations around the world which are often fairly characterized as a subsidy to the oil industry.

Together, domestic subsidies and international oil aid are maintaining and often increasing the tilt in the “energy playing field” in favor of the oil industry at precisely the moment we need to move away from their dominance in our economies.

While Oil Aid is purportedly for the benefit of developing countries, it often amounts to a subsidy for some of the wealthiest corporations in the world. ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP, and Shell are the beneficiaries of some of the oil aid. It is hard to see why these corporations need public support.