Monday, 20 May, 2019

Norway's $1 trillion sovereign wealth fund to dump oil and gas shares

World’s largest sovereign wealth fund in Norway to dump oil stocks Norway's $1 trillion wealth fund turns its back on oil and gas
Russell Knight | 10 March, 2019, 22:42

But a bulk of that amount is invested in integrated oil companies that are engaged in everything from exploration to selling fuel at the roadside.

"Let me make it absolutely clear: this has nothing to do with the government' petroleum policy".

Norway has already converted a large portion of its oil and gas resources into diversified wealth overseas, and most of its remaining resources will be extracted in the next decade, meaning its oil price risk is "historically low and declining".

"We're seeing billions of dollars here in Canada flowing into innovative technologies that are reducing carbon footprints. from both E&P (exploration and production) and integrated companies".

"The objective is to reduce the vulnerability of our commonwealth to a permanent oil price decline", Finance Minister Siv Jensen said, stressing the move should not be interpreted as a lack of confidence in the future of the oil sector. The country's sovereign wealth fund was built up using wealth from Norway's hydrocarbon production, and as of past year had around $37bn invested in oil and gas stocks.

It "does not reflect any particular view of future movements in oil and gas prices or the profitability or sustainability of the oil and gas sector", he added.

"There's nothing of size when you look at the percentage of total shares outstanding", he said, while cautioning that the impact could worsen if other large funds follow the Norwegian fund's lead.

World’s largest sovereign wealth fund in Norway to dump oil stocks

The fund will continue to own shares in major oil companies like Shell and BP that are making an effort to diversify into renewable energy. She also highlighted that the decision is based on financial consideration and not climate considerations.

The government said it would exclude companies classified as exploration and production companies from the fund.

However, as the FT notes, chances are environmentalists organizations will seize on the opportunity to step up pressure on other institutional investors in oil and gas to consider dialing back their exposure to the fossil fuel industry.

"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".

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.

Among the firms affected are Cairn Energy, in which the fund held 1.92% worth $22mn at the end of 2018, Tullow Oil, in which it held 2.1% worth $67mn, and Premier Oil, with 1.8% worth $12mn.

"Today they are too risky to be included in a well-managed portfolio", he said.

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