Norway may dump foreign oil, coal from wealth fund

Sovereign wealth fund manages profits from Norway’s fossil fuel industry.
By MARK LEWIS, Associated Press Published: April 5, 2014

— Norway is considering excluding foreign oil and coal companies from its $860 billion sovereign wealth fund, which manages profits from Norway’s own fossil fuel industry.

In a shakeup of the fund that sharpens its environmental focus, Finance Minister Siv Jensen said Friday she had appointed a panel to assess the question on the grounds of possible damage to the climate. It will report back to the government in November.

The move highlights Norway’s ambition to be a climate leader, while continuing to hunt for oil and gas in its own waters.

Strategy to be studied

The government said the panel would evaluate whether excluding investments in coal and oil companies “is a more effective strategy for addressing climate issues and promoting future change than the exercise of ownership and exertion of influence.”

In 2013, the fund’s exposure to oil and gas shares amounted to 8.4 percent of its total value. Almost $5 billion was invested in Royal Dutch Shell alone, according to the fund’s annual report.

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