Letters to the Editor: Liverpool Bay operator, ENI, opens Rouble account to pay for Russian gas – can they be trusted?

Dear Editor,

It was reported on May 16th, by Bloomberg UK [1] that, ‘Even as conflicting messages continued to emerge from Brussels over the legality of complying with Moscow’s demands to pay for gas in rubles, Italy’s Eni SpA said it was opening a ruble account to keep the gas flowing’ 

We believe this should be a matter of direct concern to citizens and decision makers in the North West on two counts: (a) such payments to the Russian state will facilitate continuing military aggression; (b) at a time of global climate crisis, to ‘keep the gas flowing’ is the height of recklessness for current and future global populations

As a regional grassroots organization, we have, for a number of months, also been raising wider concerns in relation to HyNet NW partner ENI, exemplified by:     

  1. As a habitual polluter of Liverpool Bay coasts, the latest oil spill incidence of which took place in February this year, as reported by the BBC [2]
  2. Being embroiled in mega-gas projects in Mozambique which have unjustly displaced local communities, and which cannot be disassociated from violence and killings in the province of Cabo Delgado [3]
  3. At a time of huge insecurities over fuel costs and jobs, community buy-in, by the nearly two million people of Liverpool City Region and Cheshire West and Chester, is essential. Otherwise, there is an inescapable risk of locking these same communities, and businesses, into an endless cycle of climate-wrecking fossil fuel use and financial hardship. This will arise through the deployment of risky or unproven technologies related to the production of ‘blue hydrogen’, and carbon capture and storage under Liverpool Bay

As a minimum and in advance of scrutinising wider concerns, including (i) to (iii) above, elected community leaders and others, including Chief Executives of other HyNetNW partners [4], must call on ENI to reverse this destructive and cynical financial decision – how can they otherwise be trusted, and might their latest action be putting our region at risk?

[1] Italy’s Eni to Open Ruble Account [Bloomberg UK, May 16th 2022]

[2] Irish Sea pipe leak spills 500 barrels of oil into sea [BBC Wales, February 15th 2022]

[3] See transcript of The dire consequences of the gas expansion plans in Mozambique ‘First of all we want to show that all eyes are on Mozambique, that they are watching what’s happening, that we have solidarity, that people are with us. The thing is, all of these companies are not from Mozambique, you’ve got Total from France, Shell from Netherlands, Eni from Italy, ExxonMobil from the US and on and on. There are so many companies and these companies represent your flag. People do not want to be associated with the blood that’s occurring, but that blood is on the hands of these companies and on the hands of your flag.’ [Friends of The Earth International, October 26th, 2021]

[4] HynetNW partners

Liverpool Friends of The Earth

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