BNP Paribas office in London (Photo credit: the bank)
BNP Paribas office in London (Photo credit: the bank)

France's BNP Shuns Links to Shale, Oil Sands, Arctic

French global banking group BNP Paribas announced on October 11 that it would cease any financing relationships with companies involved in the exploration, production or distribution of oil and gas derived from shale, or oil from oil sands.

“We’re a long-standing partner to the energy sector and we’re determined to support the transition to a more sustainable world,” BNP CEO Jean-Laurent Bonnafe said. “As an international bank, our role is to help drive the energy transition and contribute to the de-carbonisation of the economy. As we have announced, we’re committed to working with and supporting those energy sector partners who have decided to make environmental issues a central part of their business policy.” 

The French-based banking group also said would not finance any oil and gas exploration or production in the Arctic.

The latest moves against oil sands and shale gas, including LNG export projects that liquefy shale gas, come on the heels of BNP’s earlier decision to cut ties with coal mines and coal-fired power generation. It supports the banking group’s goal to increase total financing for renewable energy to €15bn by 2020 and to set aside €100mn for investments in start-ups working on innovative solutions for energy transition.

The impact of BNP Paribas's policy is likely to be limited, since the bank has relatively little exposure to the resources on its blacklist, most of which are concentrated in Canada and the US. 

French utilities Engie and EDF have been divesting or closing coal-fired plants, but both and Total are or will be offtakers from US LNG projects that draw on shale gas, while Total retains interests in Canadian oil sands.


Dale Lunan


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