Estimating the Unpaid Debt

Money cannot replace the life of a child, the destruction of a community, or loss of education. It is embarrassing and problematic to translate the human costs of war into money. But money motivated Lundin, Petronas and OMV to operate in a war zone and undoing the consequences will cost money.

The cost of the war in Block 5A from 1999 to 2003 was quite significant. It can be measured in terms of deaths, disease, injuries, displacement, damage to family life and property, destruction of communities, disease, and loss of future and potential assets such as the education of children, the training of future leaders, and the ability to benefit from the many life opportunities that did not come due to the war. It is even more significant that its effects are still being felt.

Over four years of intense warfare upset the lives of a quarter of a million people and caused tremendous damages. The exact amount of these damages and the attribution of liability should be determined by independent experts. This incomplete and rather modest estimate may give an impression of the likely magnitude:

Estimate of damages due to the oil war in Block 5A (in USD)

Kind of damage # Value Total
Deaths                       12.000  $              10.000  $          120,000,000
Forced displacements                     140.000  $                1.000  $          140,000,000
Permanently uprooted                       20.000  $                5.000  $          100,000,000
Stables, houses, fences                       40.000  $                   600  $            24,000,000
Cattle                     500.000  $                   350  $          175,000,000
Goats                     100.000  $                     12  $              1,200,000
Schools, churches, clinics,                              98  $              20.000  $              1,960,000
Household and personal items, food stocks                    180.000  $                   250  $            45,000,000
Loss of access to source of income                       80.000  $                1.800  $          144,000,000
Loss of opportunities                     120.000  $                   800  $            96,000,000
Lost education                       60.000  $                1.000  $            60,000,000
Sub-Total      $          907,160,000
Interest over 18 years 97%      $          879,945,200
Grand Total      $       1,787,105,200

This estimate does not include the full list of damages that Swedish courts grant compensation for, like pain and suffering (sveda och värk), indirect personal injury due to the loss of loved ones (indirekta personskador för att ha förlorat anhöriga), disfiguration (utseendemässig skada), and physical injury (fysiska skador).

The members of the Lundin Consortium and their investors have a debt to pay to the people who were severely harmed by the war that they contributed to and benefitted from. Lundin Energy can be held fully liable for these damages, in which case its debt would be MUSD 1,787.  It can also be argued that its business partners Petronas and OMV share the responsibility in proportion to their stake in the Lundin consortium, in which case Lundin’s debt could stand at MUSD 714, the debt of Petronas at MUSD 500, and that of OMV at MUSD 464.

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