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Chinese and American oil companies and their environmental practices in Chad : a quiet confluence of streams or silence before the battle? : [Draft]

Van Vliet G., Magrin G., Yang W., Maoundonodji G., Doudjidingao A., Lin Y., Wang F., Liang G., Tavares M.A., Dittgen R.. 2011. In : Rising Powers and Global Standards Research Network Workshop, January 24-26, 2011, Manchester. s.l. : s.n., 25 p.. Rising Powers and Global Standards Research Network Workshop, 2011-01-24/2011-01-26, Manchester (Royaume-Uni).

While the notion of "double standard" has been extensively utilized when analyzing the difference in behavior of northern MNC´s operating in less regulated southern countries (Brandt report, 1980), it is less evident to apply in the case of a Chinese firm operating in today´s Chad. Based on recent empirical research we will focus on the entangled relationships which are emerging following the arrival of the Chinese National Petroleum Company (CNPC) in the Chadian oil sector (initially dominated by Exxon, a US oil major). Faced to growing external and internal pressures, China has mostly closed the gap between demand and supply of environmental regulation, although the supply of enforcement still lags behind demand. In the oil sector both environmental regulations and their enforcement have been the object of increased and combined scrutiny from the State, private foreign partners (northern oil and gas majors), public opinion and media. This resulted in a composite environmental management system, influenced by Chinese, international and local practices. When entering the Chadian oil sector in 2007, the CNPC appears thus to be well endowed to face the comparison with the "Exxon-Doba" project, an heritage of the widely known World Bank Group project (1998-2007), but without being able to become a producer of norms. Despite the shortcomings of the Bank´s involvement in the oil sector in Chad -a history that has not yet ended and needs to be written- this heritage is still strongly marking the minds of all actors involved in the oil sector in Chad. The notion of double standard might thus operate but in reverse or at least in both directions. The Doba heritage functions indeed as a threshold with which CNPC managers deal pragmatically every day, the mere because larger parts of the expected oil production in the CNPC fields will have to be exported. Among the several options, the most viable appears to be transporting the oil from the CNPC oil field through the pipeline build and administered by Exxon. Chad and the confluence of its diverse oil streams may thus represent the first example of a peaceful "depoliticization" of Sino-US energy policy advocated by Lee and Shalmon (2007). But the implementation of other options might involve the risk of reducing the rich institutional heritage of the Exxon-to a mere pipeline. (Résumé d'auteur)

Mots-clés : pétrole; industrie minière; gestion de l'environnement; réglementation; politique de l'environnement; entreprise étrangère; tchad; amériques; chine

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