OCBC is now coal-free: Singapore bank drops out of final coal project

(Eco Business, 1 Nov 2019) The bank’s move away from the 1,200-megawatt Vung Ang 2 coal plant in Vietnam has been praised by environmentalists, who say that unlike rivals that have claimed to stop funding the single biggest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, OCBC is “walking the talk”.

Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC), Southeast Asia’s second largest bank, has dropped out of the last coal financing project that it is involved in, Eco-Business can reveal.

The move away from a financing collective for the 1,200-megawatt Vung Ang 2 coal-fired power station in Vietnam marks a major strategic rethink for the Singapore-based financial services firm, which in January 2018 was identified as Southeast Asia’s largest backer of coal projects in recent years.

Sources close to the Vung Ang 2 project confirmed that the bank dropped out during the early stages, when discussions were underway to form the financing collective.

In April, OCBC chief executive Samuel Tsien announced that it would back away from new coal financing, but the bank still had two projects in play. After the Van Phong 1 coal project in Vietnam reached financial close in August, that left only Vung Ang 2 that OCBC was involved in.

“OCBCs decision to withdraw from the funding consortium for Vung Ang 2, one of the most controversial coal projects in Asia, shows what it really means to implement a coal policy and stick to it,” commented Julien Vincent, head of non-governmental organisation Market Forces, which has been campaigning for banks to quit coal in Southeast Asia.

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Eco Business, 1 Nov 2019: OCBC is now coal-free: Singapore bank drops out of final coal project