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Investment Group Presses European Banks To Stop Funding Oil And Gas Projects

Nonprofit ShareAction has urged five large European banks to stop funding oil and gas projects, warning they will jeopardize the transition to low-carbon energy if they do not.

Per a Reuters report, the responsible investment group sent letters to Barclays, Credit Agricole, BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank, and Societe Generale, in which it urged them to stop their support of the fossil fuel industry.

The signatories of the letter include several large investment management organizations including Aegon Asset Management, La Francaise Asset Management, and the British Local Government Pension Scheme.

"Investors are putting these banks on notice that they will face ever increasing pressure if they don’t act soon to reverse their financing of new oil and gas," the head of ShareAction’s banking program, Jeanne Martin, said, as quoted by Reuters.

Of the five banks targeted with the letter, two did not respond to Reuters requests for comments and the other three—BNP Paribas, Barclays, and Credit Agricole—responded with assurances they are as dedicated to the energy transition as ShareAction is but have chosen different paths to support it.

The call comes amid record profits for Big Oil and plans to dial back transition efforts and refocus on their core business of extracting oil and gas from the ground and turning them into various products essential for the economy and the energy transition.

Activist pressure on banks has increased in recent years, leading to pledges of fossil fuel funding suspension by several large lenders, although the pledges tend to be limited in scope to keep banks exposed to the oil and gas industry, which, as has become clear in the last two years, is still indispensable for the functioning of any economy.

Barclays told Reuters that these companies were in fact essential for the transition and that was why it would continue working with them. BNP Paribas meanwhile issued new, revised transition targets that include the end of financing for new oil and gas exploration and production. Credit Agricole has already ended funding for new oil and gas exploration and production.

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By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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