Lundin Petroleum

03.05.2019 ( Last modified: 13.08.2019 )
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Facts

Lundin Petroleum is a Swedish oil company founded in 2001. It is one of Europe’s largest independent oil companies, whose main activity consists of oil production and exploration in Norway.

According to a report published by a coalition of NGOs, the European Coalition on Oil in Sudan (ECOS), in 1997, Lundin Petroleum {then Lundin Oil} signed a contract with the Government for the exploration and production of oil in a war zone in southern Sudan, the Block 5A concession, which was not at that time under full Government control. The second Sudanese civil war was fought by the Government of Sudan, the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), and other armed groups from 1982 to 2005.

A civil war broke out between the Government and SPLA-supported armed groups for the control of the Block 5A.

In this capacity, the company allegedly paid the Sudanese army and non-state armed groups to forcibly displace the local population from oil-rich areas. Almost 200,000 civilians were forcedly displaced, and thousands died. Indeed, according to ECOS, 12’000 persons are believed to have died; killed, because of hunger, because of exhaustion, or because of diseases related to the conflict. Other crimes allegedly carried out to clear the land include unlawful killings, rape, enslavement, torture, indiscriminate attacks, pillage, and the recruitment of child soldiers.

Legal Procedure

In 2010, ECOS published a report – Unpaid Debt– indicating that Lundin Petroleum may have been complicit in international crimes committed in Sudan between 1997 and 2003. The report was submitted to the Swedish International Public Prosecution Office, which opened a preliminary investigation the same year. Alex Schneiter (Swiss national), who was head of Exploration during the relevant time period, and Ian Lundin (chairman) became formal suspects after being questioned by prosecutors in 2016.

On 18 October 2018, the Swedish Government authorised the prosecution authority to proceed with an indictment in this case. Pursuant to Swedish law, the prosecution of a foreign national for crimes committed abroad requires the governmental authorization.

In mid-November 2018, Alex Schneiter and Ian Lundin received the final notice of indictment. Both deny the charges. The company was also notified separately that it may face a €300 million fine.