Financing from French banks for fossil fuels down in 2023


A delivery of LNG, to the loading dock of the Fos-Cavaou terminal, in Fos-sur-Mer (Bouches-du-Rhône), June 22, 2023. CLEMENT MAHOUDEAU / AFP

A decrease “ Welcome “. The eight non-governmental organizations (NGOs) which published, Monday May 13, the fifteenth edition of the “Banking on Climate Chaos” (BOCC) report, an annual census of the financing provided by the banking sector to fossil fuel producers, recognize this: among evolutions “notable” observed in 2023 is the decline in financing from French banks to the main oil and gas companies around the world.

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BNP Paribas’ financing for these large fossil fuel producers decreased by 78% in 2023 compared to 2021, that of Crédit Agricole by 63%, that of Société Générale by 82%, that of the BPCE group (Banque populaire et Savings Bank) by 52%, according to the report. Figures relate to an overall drop of 67.8% in two years in global financing to the twelve main oil and gas companies.

This movement is largely explained by the reduction in demand for financing from these “majors”, the high level of energy prices allowing them to largely self-finance. But beyond that, the major French banks “stayed away” of several transactions last year, particularly in the second half, notes the report.

705 billion dollars in financing worldwide

BNP Paribas, the leading bank in the euro zone by assets, has fallen from third to ninth place in the world ranking of the main financiers of majors such as TotalEnergies, Shell, BP and SaudiAramco, and Société Générale falls from sixth to fifteenth place. .

However, the NGOs involved in drafting the report say they are still far from satisfied. “No major French bank has turned its back on new liquefied natural gas terminals [GNL]which the International Energy Agency considers to be incompatible with a trajectory of limiting global warming to 1.5°C.regrets Lucie Pinson, director of Reclaim Finance.

Read also | Crédit Agricole restricts its financing of new fossil fuel extraction projects

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The Postal Bank is to date the only French bank to completely exclude financing new LNG import terminals, but its weight on the global financing market is incommensurate with that of the leaders in the sector.

On a global scale, oil and gas producers still benefited, in 2023, from 705 billion dollars (662 billion euros) in financing from the sixty main banks, of which 347 billion went to oil and gas companies , leading, according to the reference classification of the German NGO Urgewald, projects to expand their fossil fuel production.

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