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Norway wealth fund plans to drop oil and gas stocks
17 November 2017, 12:27 | Cedric Leonard
"There is a substantial difference.in return between the oil and gas sector and the broad stock market in periods when the oil price changes substantially".
Norway's government has been told its state-run fund should drop its investments in oil and gas stocks.
"It is not surprising that we see the world's largest sovereign wealth fund managers no longer prepared to take the increasing risk associated with oil and gas assets, which do not have a long-term future", said Paul Fisher of the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, in an interview with the Guardian.
On Thursday, Storebrand said in a release that Norge Bank's move should encourage other funds to pressure "oil and gas companies to revisit their investment plans and operations in the transition to a low carbon economy". The fund could dump up to $40 billion (€33.9 billion) worth of shares in global oil giants such as Royal Dutch Shell, BP, Chevron and Exxon Mobil.
Europe's oil and gas index was down 0.35 percent by 1332 GMT.
Owning close to 1.5% of global stocks, the Norwegian fund largely follows indices, but is allowed some active management of its portfolio.
Norway government to conclude on potential wealth fund oil, gas divestments in 2018
It also held 1.7 per cent of Italy's Eni, 1.6 per cent of France's Total and 0.9 per cent of Sweden's Lundin Petroleum, among others. At the end of the third quarter, Royal Dutch Shell was the fund's third-biggest equity investment at more than $5bn.
The Government Pension Fund of Norway, which recently surpassed one trillion dollars in value, is the world's largest sovereign wealth fund.
"This is the biggest pile of money on the planet, most of it derived from oil-but that hasn't blinded its owners to the realities of the world we now inhabit", said McKibben.
At the end of 2016, the fund's equity investments were split between investments in the financial sector (23.3 percent), industrial companies (14.1 percent), consumer goods (13.7 percent), consumer services (10.3 percent), healthcare (10.2 percent), technology (9,5 percent), oil and gas (6.4 percent), basic materials (5.6 percent), telecoms (3.2 percent) and utilities (3.1 percent).
Norwegian Minister of Finance Siv Jensen said the issues raised by Norges Bank "are complex and multifaceted" and its advice requires a thorough assessment.
If it decides to back the central bank's proposal, the country's parliament would be able to vote on it in June 2019 at the earliest.
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