Oil in Virunga, who is financing who: the Dutch connection


The purpose of this study is to identify the Dutch financial institutions that have relations with the oil companies Ophir Energy, SOCO International and Total. These three companies are exploring for oil in the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), or are planning to start with oil exploration. The Virunga National Park is a protected area inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The analysis of the three oil companies’ assets showed that Ophir Energy and SOCO International, both based in the UK, are very dependent on their shareholders. Stockholders and bank loans play no role for Energy Ophir and only a minor role for SOCO International. The French oil company Total, one of the big major oil – gas exploration and production companies in the world with operations in many countries, is mainly financed by its shareholders and stockholders.

Dutch financial institutions play a small financial role in SOCO International, and an even smaller role in Ophir Energy, however Total receives a fairly large financial contribution from Dutch institutions. Table 1 gives an overview of the major Dutch financial institutions involved in financing these three companies. Three Dutch banks are major lenders: ABN AMRO, ING and Rabobank. Two pension funds have been substantially involved in the financing of companies: Burgerlijk Pensioenfonds (ABP) and Pensioenfonds Zorg en Welzijn (PFZW).

Table 1 – Most Important Dutch Financial Institutions

Financial Institution


Ophir Energy

SOCO International


ABP Pension Fund S
ING Bank S S S, STO, U
PfZW Pension Fund S, STO
Rabobank Bank S, STO, U

*the former ABN AMRO

S = Shareholder

STO = Stockholder

U = Underwriter of obligation emissions

All five financial institutions have a highly developed sustainability policy. Each of the financial institutions have one or more collective policy statements signed and several of these institutions have formulated policies with regard to the oil & gas sector and biodiversity.

* Summary translated from the full DUTCH REPORT – Nederlandse financiele instellingen en oliebedrijven in DRC _1-1

Source: Profundo and WNF