US investment firm Boston Common Management, which holds a minority stake in Statoil, has questioned whether the Norwegian state-owned oil company’s Alberta assets – including the producing Leismer project and planned Corner scheme – are sustainable in the long-term, Stavanger Aftenblad reported.
“We are concerned about the possible economic and reputational risk linked to the company’s investment in the Canadian oil sands,” according to a letter from the firm signed by 36 investors cited by the Norwegian publication.
Investors express concerns over the future price of carbon dioxide emissions quotas, which could have an impact on the profitability of the company.
Issues such as the local environmental impact and high water usage of the pollutive industry is also cited by the investor group.
It follows a report issued last week by environmental watchdog Carbon Tracker that claimed companies such as Statoil could risk getting their fingers burned with heavy investments in oil sands and other areas, such as deep-water and the Arctic, that require sustained high oil prices of more than $95 per barrel.
“Companies are increasing their exposure to unconventional types of hydrocarbons and physically challenging environments,” the report stated.
“This technical risk can increase costs, while the industry also faces legal and political challenges in relation to these areas.”
The report claimed oil companies are highly sensitive to oil price swings in their drive to replace reserves and would be better served by investing in projects with lower risk and costs.
Another Statoil investor, Storbrand, backed the findings of the report and said it would support a motion due to be submitted at the AGM by environmental groups Greenpeace and WWF for the company to exit the oil sands.