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Shell Shocked! Big Money Dumps Oil Stocks

Posted by John Donovan: 01 July 2024

In a move that’s more shocking than discovering water is wet, a growing horde of European institutional investors are ditching oil and gas stocks like they’re yesterday’s trash. The latest to jump on this bandwagon of eco-consciousness is Denmark’s largest commercial pension fund, PFA, which manages a whopping $110 billion. They’ve decided to offload their $170 million stake in Shell, citing the company’s pathetic attempt at renewable energy investment.

“There was a cry to them to engage more in the transition,” said Rasmus Bessing, head of ESG investing and co-chief investment officer at PFA, with an eye-roll you could almost hear. “But especially over the last year or so, a bit more perhaps,” Shell has been making it clear they prefer to keep riding the fossil fuel gravy train.

Shell, in its usual nonchalant manner, responded with a comment from chief executive Wael Sawan at their annual general meeting on May 21. Sawan boasted that shareholders “have strongly backed” Shell’s strategy, emphasizing their focus on “performance, discipline, and simplification.” Translation: “We’re still raking in cash from oil, deal with it.”

Meanwhile, other big players in the investment world are also tired of oil and gas stocks clogging up their portfolios. Europe’s largest pension fund, Stichting Pensioenfonds ABP, which oversees around $550 billion, announced in May it had ditched all its liquid assets in oil, gas, and coal – a chunk worth about $11 billion. They’re not stopping there; another $5 billion in less-liquid fossil-fuel assets is next on the chopping block.

France is also jumping on the green train, thanks to new sustainable investing regulations. Asset managers must now cleanse their portfolios of an estimated $7.5 billion in fossil-fuel assets, targeting companies like TotalEnergies and, of course, our favourite oil giant, Shell.

So, as Shell continues to fumble around in its quest to provide “the energy the world needs today,” the world is making it clear: the future isn’t filled with the black gold Shell clings to, but with the promise of a greener, cleaner tomorrow. Buckle up, Shell, it looks like your fossil-fuel joyride is running out of gas.

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