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Media Release

Net Zero Australian banks fund $3.5bn carbon bomb

18 January 2022

18 January 2022

NAB, ANZ and Westpac are among 18 global banks that have trashed any net zero commitments they have by lending1 US$3.49 billion to Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) for its purchase of a 49% stake in the Pluto LNG Train 2 gas processing facility, paving the way for a carbon bomb at the scale of 15 coal power stations.

“The International Energy Agency (IEA) has made it clear there is no room for new fossil fuel supply projects if we are to achieve the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement,” said Market Forces Campaigner Jack Bertolus. “Yet, despite a clear commitment to net zero, NAB has just led a global banking consortium to enable a 1.6 billion tonne carbon bomb, with ANZ and Westpac as part of the deal.”

“The immensity of the fossil fuel project is matched only by the banks’ willingness to repeatedly con their customers and their investors, who are all demanding action on the climate crisis. In reality, their money is being used to fund a project enabling emissions equivalent to running 15 coal plants for three decades.”

Other banks include Japanese megabanks Mizuho, MUFG and SMBC, UK’s HSBC and Standard Chartered, and Bank of China.

Woodside, which sold the stake to GIP, has said this deal is critical to its decision to go ahead with the Pluto 2 project and associated giant greenfield offshore gas field, Scarborough.

It is estimated the Scarborough-Pluto project would enable 1.6 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions over its lifetime, equivalent to running 15 coal power stations for 30 years. The project also poses unacceptable risks to fragile marine life and irreplaceable Murujuga Aboriginal rock art, which is under consideration for World Heritage listing.

NAB led the arrangement of the deal, which comes just months after the bank released an updated oil and gas policy. The policy was roundly criticised as a greenwashing exercise allowing the bank to continue funding the expansion of the fossil fuel industry. 

Independent analysis has concluded “Woodside’s proposed Scarborough to Pluto LNG project in Western Australia represents a bet against the world implementing the Paris Agreement,” while the International Energy Agency has confirmed “there is no need for investment in new fossil fuel supply in our net zero [by 2050] pathway”.

Full list of banks involved in the deal1:

  • Australia
    • ANZ, NAB, Westpac
  • UK
    • HSBC, Standard Chartered
  • Japan
    • Mizuho Bank, MUFG, SMBC
  • China
    • Bank of China, ICBC
  • Other Asia
    • Korea Development Bank, United Overseas Bank
  • EU
    • Credit Agricole, Intesa Sanpaolo, Natixis, NordLB, Santander, Societe Generale

1 ‘GIP bags US$3.49bn loan for Pluto LNG Train 2’, Refinitiv Loan Pricing Corporation, 17 Jan 2022 (not publicly available)