Home » Octavia Energy and Calvalley Petroleum donate USD $300,000 to the UN’s crowdfunding

Octavia Energy and Calvalley Petroleum donate USD $300,000 to the UN’s crowdfunding

by Mohammad Ghazal

Oil companies Octavia Energy and its subsidiary, Calvalley Petroleum, today announce they are jointly donating USD $300,000 towards the campaign to offload crude oil from the decaying storage tanker, FSO Safer, and prevent an ecological and humanitarian catastrophe in the Red Sea.

The Safer FSO has been moored at the Ras Isa Terminal, eight kilometers off the West coast of Yemen since 2018, when offloading ceased due to the conflict that has engulfed the country. The FSO has not been inspected nor maintained since 2015, leading to serious concerns regards its integrity. The vessel, laden with over 1 million barrels of crude oil, is of risk of leaking crude due to hull fracture or an explosion due to a build-up of flammable gasses.

An oil spill from the FSO Safer would be a major humanitarian and ecological disaster which could severely impact delicate ecosystems, fishing areas, industries and communities along the Yemeni Red Sea and neighbouring countries including Saudi Arabia, Djibouti and Eritrea. It is anticipated that the damage to marine environments could be significantly greater than that caused by the Exxon Valdez in Alaska in 1989.

The human fallout would be severe. Contamination from an oil slick could shut down nearby ports and impact many Yemeni coastal communities that already rely heavily upon humanitarian aid for safe delivery of essential supplies of aid and food. A significant spill would also devastate the regional, staple fishing industry and impede global shipping lanes.

The cost of a clean-up of an oil spill of the magnitude possible from FSO Safer has been estimated to be as great as $20 billion.

In comparison, the emergency phase of the salvage operation will cost $129 million and an additional $19 million is required for the second phase. Andrew Mitchell, the British Foreign minister, together with the Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, are co-hosting an international pledging event to attempt to secure the final tranche of funding for the UN-coordinated operation.

So far, most of the money has been raised from governments. The Octavia Energy and Calvalley Petroleum donation, together with $1.2m from the HSA Group and including those from the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers and the Trafagura Foundation, represent the private sector contributions that have pledged to date. The global public has also contributed through a crowdfunding campaign.

Darran Lucas, spokesman for Octavia Energy and Calvalley Petroleum commenting on the pledge, says: “This donation illustrates our commitment to Yemen and the Yemeni people. The two companies continue to invest heavily in the local economy, creating jobs and helping the community through an incredibly difficult period. We encourage other companies from the private sector to also pledge donations for the FSO Safer salvage operation.”

Darran is confident that, with the vital COP28 climate change talks due to be held in nearby Dubai later this year, others from the region will donate to the FSO SAFER campaign. Darran adds : “We must do everything we can to accelerate a successful salvage operation and prevent a spill that could destroy the Red Sea coastal environment and a desperately fragile Yemeni economy. We cannot sit by and let this happen.”

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