The government of Norway today proposed to exclude exploration and production companies within the energy sector from the Government Pension Fund Global (the “Oil Fund” or “Sovereign Wealth Fund”), as a means to reduce the aggregate oil price risk in the Norwegian economy.
Rystad Energy senior partner and head of analysis Per Magnus Nysveen comments:
“This is a surprising decision. From a financial perspective, it will make it impossible for the fund to replicate the stock market, which is a key task for a passive investor such as the Oil Fund. Obviously, this must be weighed against the need to hedge or reduce the vulnerability of our common oil wealth,” said Nysveen.
“However, there are more effective measures than exclusion of E&P companies. The government could reduce its shareholding in the Norwegian oil company Equinor, of which it currently owns 67%. Or it could privatize Petoro, which has substantial holdings in production licenses on the Norwegian continental shelf. This would achieve more in terms of reducing Norway’s excessive exposure to the cyclical and often turbulent swings of the oil and gas industry. It would also be popular among conservatives,” Nysveen added.
"Majors and integrated oil and gas companies will not be exluded from the fund. Only shares in independent E&P companies, with an aggregate market value of about NOK 70 billion, will be sold. For comparison, this is approximately 10% of the market value of Equinor or one third of Petoro's asset value," Nysveen remarked.
“I’m glad to see that the Oil Fund can continue to invest in oilfield service companies under the government’s new proposal. They play an integral part in the energy transition, and can help to bring down costs on renewable energy sources such as offshore wind,” Nysveen commented.
Per Magnus Nysveen
Head of Analysis
Telephone: +47 24 00 42 00
Phone: +47 951 98 742
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