OSLO, Oct. 29 (Xinhua) -- Norway's largest bank DNB is alleged to financially support companies that are building the Dakota Access Pipeline in the United States, a project that are accused by both indigenous groups and environmental organizations of violating human rights, newspaper Aftenposten reported on Saturday.
The bank said it would now look seriously at the accusations and get into a dialogue with the companies behind the 1,825-km-long underground U.S. oil pipeline project for crude oil, according to the report.
The pipeline, estimated to be finished in January next year, would cross the Missouri River, which is the main drinking water source for the Standing Rock Sioux Indians.
DNB is among the international banks that contribute with their capital. The partly state-owned Norwegian bank finances approximately 10 percent of the project, which is estimated to cost around 30 billion kroner (3.63 billion U.S. dollars).
According to Aftenposten, DNB's funding activity consists of three parts: the subsidiary bank in New York, DNB Capital LLC, has lent 100 million dollars to Sunoco Logistics, the company that would operate the pipeline once it is finished; DNB Capital has lent 175 million dollars to Energy Transfers Partners; DNB's branch on the Cayman Islands has lent 65.6 million dollars to Energy Transfer Equity, the parent company of the above-mentioned.
These three lines of credit from DNB are equivalent to 2.8 billion kroner. Aftenposten mentioned the DNB's guidelines that say the bank should not contribute to infringement of human rights.
Even Westerveld, DNB's director of information, told Aftenposten that the bank so far had not gotten confirmed information that the project violated human rights.
"However, we regard seriously the allegations that have recently occurred. Therefore we inquire more about the project in order to make sure that it is in line with the current rules and our own policy. We ask, among other things, how the dialogue with the affected groups prior to the building work went and whether the indigenous people's rights were safeguarded in a satisfactory manner," he said.
It is "more environmentally friendly and safer to transfer oil by pipes than by trains or tankers," he added.
Norwegian non-profit organization "The future in our hands," which works currently with the Norwegian Consumer Council on developing an ethical consumer guide for financial sector, has also looked at DNB's involvement in the pipeline project.
"What is surprising is the amount that DNB has given and the way it has been done. Loan via tax havens such as the Cayman Islands and Delaware makes the funding hidden from the public and also means lost tax income," said Arild Hermstad, leader of the organization.
He emphasized that DNB is a partly state-owned bank and that the bank should stop the funding of projects that violate international climate deals.
"The bank funds an infrastructure that is against the international goal to prevent more than two degrees (Celsius) of global warming. This oil pipeline will make the United States depend on fossil in many years to come. When the project in addition seems to violate indigenous people's rights, it is clear that DNB should not participate in this," Hermstad said.