France. What is the “Davos of oil” summit environmentalists are raging against

Si terrà nella città di Pau, in Francia, un summit mondiale della lobby del petrolio. A Parigi la protesta delle organizzazioni ambientaliste.

The Marine, Construction and Engineering (MCE) Deepwater Development is a conference that brings the world’s leading figures of the oil lobby together. Among others, Exxon Mobil, Shell, Saipem, Repsol, Technip, Vallourec, and Halliburton will attend the event. All participants were invited by the French Total to participate in what has been defined as “the leading conference addressing technical issues related to engineering, development, and production of oil and gas in deep and ultra deepwater arenas around the world”.


Total petrolio
Multinational Total organises in Pau, France, what Greenpeace has defined the “Davos of offshore oil” © Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Oil tycoons want to reduce costs for them to remain competitive

“As our industry confronts new challenges, the sharing of deepwater experience will play a critical role,” writes the company. “Our common objective is to reduce costs significantly in order for deepwater to remain competitive,” said André Goffart, Total Senior Vice-President for Development and Support to Operations.


The conference, to be held in the French city of Pau from 5 to 7 April, has been defined as a “Davos of offshore oil”. In order to oppose the conference – considered inconsistent with COP21 commitments –, numerous environmental organisations took to the streets in Paris on 31 March.


NGOs: stop funding oil

Activists poured black liquid into the fountains of Trocadero, just a few steps from the Eiffel Tower, aiming to recall the environmental risks linked to offshore drilling. “Oil tycoons did not even mention the climate, as if the COP21 did not exist” said Txetx Etcheverry, co-founder of the alter-globalisation movement Bizi! “It seems that the fact that the whole world pledged to limit the global average temperature rise below 2 degrees by the end of the century doesn’t affect those operators at all”.

NGOs called for the summit to be cancelled, and launched an online petition to ask a moratorium on deepwater drilling, the suspension of any funding to fossil fuels, and the withdrawal of current licenses granted for exploiting oilfields.


Cover photo: the consequenes of an oil spill in California in 2015 © David McNew/Getty Images

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