Citigroup latest major bank to end Arctic oil investment

A pond on ANWR coastal plain. The fate of the plain, also called the 1002 area, has been in dispute for 40 years because of a proposal to drill there for oil. (Photo: USFWS)

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Citigroup Inc. has become the latest major bank to pledge that it will not invest in oil and gas projects in the Arctic.

The company revealed the policy in its environmental and social policy framework for 2020, The Anchorage Daily News reported Monday.

“Citi has not previously provided and will not provide project-related financing for oil and gas exploration and production in the Arctic Circle,” the bank said.

RELATED: Anxiety creeps into oil-dependent Alaska as banks step back from Arctic investment

BlackRock Inc., the world’s largest asset manager, urged companies in January to emphasize steps they are taking to combat global warming.

Citigroup joins Wells Fargo & Co., The Goldman Sachs Group Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co., and Swiss bank UBS in avoiding Arctic petroleum investments.

RELATED: Wells Fargo becomes third major US bank to nix Arctic oil investment

Citigroup’s announcement came as the oil industry is being damaged by rapidly falling oil prices and as Alaska companies reduce spending to handle the revenue decline.

Some oil industry professionals in Alaska expressed concern that reduced financial support for Arctic drilling could threaten future projects, particularly for small oil companies with limited assets and options for generating cash.

RELATED:Oil prices fell to a historic low Monday. Here’s what that means for Alaska.

Oil prices fell again Tuesday. The cost for a barrel of U.S. oil to be delivered in June plunged 43% to $11.57.

The price drop is related to the decrease in people flying and driving during shutdowns and the shuttering of factories amid widespread stay-at-home orders to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Global oil demand is set to drop to levels last seen in the mid-1990s.

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