Over 60 organisations have written to Equinor’s biggest bankers warning them not to fund the company’s controversial Rosebank oil field due to climate risks.
In a letter to Equinor’s financiers campaigners point out that funding the Rosebank oil field in the North Sea would be in breach of these banks’ commitment to limit warming to 1.5°C.
The letter was sent to the following banks with net zero policies. From 2016-2022, these 20 banks provided at least $16 billion in financing to Equinor via lending and underwriting: Bank of America, Barclays, BNP Paribas, CIBC, Citibank, Credit Agricole, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, DNB, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Jyske Bank, Mizuho, Morgan Stanley, MUFG, Nordea, Santander, Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken, Société Générale, Standard Chartered.
The letter was convened by BankTrack and Uplift and signed by over 60 organisations including the Toxic Bonds Network, Action Aid, Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace. It outlines how, due to Rosebank, banks’ financial relationship with Equinor risks being incompatible with their own climate commitments and exposing banks to significant reputational, legal, financial and other risks. The letter calls on the banks not to finance the project directly and to engage with Equinor and push the company to cease its development.
All 20 banks are members of the Net Zero Banking Alliance, which commits them to align their financing with the goals of the Paris Agreement. Rosebank is the largest undeveloped oil field in the North Sea, containing an estimated 500 million barrels of oil. The CO2 emissions from burning this oil would equate to more than the annual emissions of 28 low-income countries combined. Rosebank’s emissions would also see the UK oil and gas industry breach climate targets agreed with the government.
“The Rosebank field would be a dangerous step towards overshooting 1.5C of global warming, and by financing Equinor banks share responsibility. Any bank that is genuinely committed to a safe climate must engage with Equinor and cut ties with the company if it continues to develop the field.”
– Maaike Beenes, Banks and Climate Campaign Lead at Banktrack
“So far, Equinor has shut its ears to the multiple warnings, from the UN Secretary-General, climate scientists and others, that there can be no expansion of oil if we’re to protect our children from catastrophic climate change. But money talks, and these banks need to join the growing chorus demanding that Equinor cease its plans to expand oil and gas drilling. Their climate commitments, if they have any integrity, bar them from funding Rosebank.”
– Tessa Khan, executive director of Uplift
Climate scientists, the International Energy Agency and others are clear that new oil and gas fields are incompatible with the world meeting its target of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees. This week, the UK government’s own advisors on climate change warned that the expansion of fossil fuel production is not in line with Net Zero.
The UK government is expected to make a decision on Rosebank imminently.