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Two of Europe’s Biggest Banks to Stop Underwriting Oil and Gas Bonds

French banks BNP Paribas and Credit Agricole, two of Europe’s top three banks by assets, are no longer underwriting bond issues for oil and gas development in the latest policy shift of financing for the industry in Europe.

The banks made clarifications on the matter in documents for their annual general meetings this month.

BNP Paribas indicated at its AGM last week that it would not participate in bond issues for companies in the oil and gas sector.

Environmental group Reclaim Finance said that it “welcomes this change at a time when the bank is reducing its financing for major companies in the sector, and calls on BNP Paribas to formalize this approach by including this rule in its climate policy and extending it to other financial services likely to contribute to oil and gas expansion.”   

BNP Paribas said in May 2023 that it would no longer provide any financing for developing new oil and gas fields, regardless of the financing methods. The bank also pledged to reduce its oil exploration and production financing by 80% by 2030 as part of its energy transition goals.

Another major French bank, Credit Agricole, also said it had effectively ceased bond issues for oil and gas. At the bank’s AGM on Wednesday, director general Philippe Brassac, said “We no longer participate in [bond] issues that are not clearly green, or at least that do not correspond to our green framework,” as cited by Reclaim Finance. 

In recent years, European banks have been limiting their exposure to oil and gas.

Under pressure from ESG trends and shareholders, major European banks have announced tougher rules on financing fossil fuels over the past two years.

UK’s HSBC said at the end of 2022 that it would stop funding new oil and gas field developments and related infrastructure as part of a policy to support and finance a net-zero transition.

UK-based Barclays announced in February 2024 that it would drop direct funding for new oil and gas projects, joining other major European banks in halting the financing of fossil fuel expansion. 

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Barclays is also looking to avoid claims of greenwashing with a new set of guidelines about what ‘transition finance’ is and how its new transition finance team should apply it.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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  • Mamdouh Salameh on May 24 2024 said:
    So what? It will hardly impact investments in the global oil industry. They won't be missed as hundred of banks will replace them. Moreover, they will come rushing back to oil when their profits are down. Oil supermajors Shall and BP tried greenwashing themselves to no avail. They were forced back to the lure of profit when their earnings started to decline.

    What hypocrisy?

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Global Energy Expert

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