Economy

Norway to ditch oil stocks from Norges Bank fund

Norway to ditch oil stocks from Norges Bank fund

But the divestment will focus on companies which trade exclusively in exploration and production like Marathon and Chesapeake Energy rather than the integrated oil giants.

Analysts said the ministry was probably referring to oil giants like BP and Royal Dutch Shell, which are among the top 20 equity holdings of the fund.

The fund owns shares in Canadian companies such as Canadian Natural Resources Ltd., Cenovus Energy Inc., Encana Corp. and several small- to medium-size producers.

"Everything indicates that nearly the entire growth in listed infrastructure for renewable energy over the next 10 years will be driven by companies that do not have renewable energy as their main activity". "This assessment is thus independent of the government's current petroleum policy, which remains unchanged".

Norway is one of western Europe's biggest oil and gas producers. "It's not a debate about climate, it's about financial risk".

Charlie Kronick, oil campaigner for environment group Greenpeace UK, said: "This partial divestment from oil and gas is welcome, but not enough to mitigate Norway's exposure to both global oil and gas prices and the wider financial ramifications of climate change".

US added only 20,000 jobs last month - fewest since September 2017
Average hourly earnings rose more strongly than in January, at 0.4 percent month-over-month and 3.4 percent year-over-year. The industries that added jobs included healthcare and professional services, the agency noted.

Faced with rising opposition to oil and gas exploration, the Norwegian government is keen to "project an image as a responsible environmental steward while pumping oil and gas at a fast clip", Bloomberg wrote.

Companies classified as exploration and production companies by the index provider FTSE Russell will be excluded from the Government Pension Fund Global's (GPFG) benchmark index and investment. "The Norwegian state is highly exposed to oil".

In Stavanger, a city on the rainy west coast where many oil companies are based, the sight of US$100,000 Teslas cruising along fjord-side roads are a marker of the town's oil-sponsored private wealth. "Therefore this is about spreading the risk", Jensen said at the announcement of the decision.

However, environmental organizations in the country want the Finance Ministry to proceed and take new steps that ultimately will result in a full exit from companies engaged in oil and gas. Norges Bank, the central bank, had in 2017 proposed a total divestment of oil and gas stocks. However, it was too early to say how that assessment might impact investment decisions. "These are the companies making the big investments now in renewables and so on". "It would be a mistake as I see it to cut off the fund's possibility to invest in them", Jensen said.

The move is likely to ramp up pressure on both investors to diversify away from oil stocks, and oil firms to produce cleaner energy to tackle climate change. Their shares were down 3.7 and 7.1 in late morning trading in the U.S.


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