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$1trn Norway wealth fund wants to drop oil and gas stocks

Norway’s sovereign wealth fund is proposing to dispose of all its holdings in oil and gas stocks to “make the government’s wealth less vulnerable to a permanent drop in oil and gas prices,” the fund announced in a letter to Norway’s ministry of finance.

“This advice is based exclusively on financial arguments and analyses of the government’s total oil and gas exposure and 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,” said Deputy Governor of Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global (GFPG) Egil Matsen.

“The investments in the GPFG and the stake in Statoil result in a total exposure to oil and gas equities for the government that is twice as large as would be the case in a broad global equity index. This exposure is increased several-fold when the government’s future oil and gas revenues are also taken into account,” he added.

Oil and gas equities currently account for around 6 percent of the GPFG’s benchmark index or just over NOK 300bn (€31bn).

According to its website, the oil fund has stakes in 379 different companies in the oil and gas sector. The FTSE 350 Oil & Gas Index was down 2.03% on Thursday.

Dual-listed Shell, the GPFG’s largest single oil and gas holding, was the second worst performer of both the FTSE 100 and Amsterdam’s AEX Index.

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