The world’s biggest asset manager, BlackRock, is prepared to invest in energy pipelines in the United States as soon as such projects get the green light from the government, BlackRock’s chief executive Larry Fink said on Wednesday.
The top executive of BlackRock – which has faced criticism from both environmental campaigners for still investing in conventional energy and Republican-led U.S. states for what they see as a boycott of the U.S. energy industry – defended the asset manager’s investment choices at a conference in Washington.
“I’m now being attacked equally by the left and the right so I’m doing something right, I hope. I don’t know. It’s painful, but you know what? We’re moving forward,” Fink said at the Institute of International Finance conference, as carried by Reuters.
In the pipeline business, BlackRock is invested in energy infrastructure in Texas and the Middle East.
Early this year, a consortium led by affiliates of BlackRock and Hassana acquired a 49% stake in Aramco Gas Pipelines Company, a unit of the world’s biggest oil firm Saudi Aramco. In 2019, BlackRock made an investment in the oil pipeline infrastructure of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC).
Meanwhile, multiple U.S. states governed by Republicans are withdrawing state funds from BlackRock’s management, as they disapprove of the ESG investment policies of the world’s top asset manager. In recent weeks, Louisiana, South Carolina, Utah, and Arkansas have announced they would divest funds from BlackRock totaling more than $1 billion.
Last week, Louisiana State Treasurer John Schroder announced in a letter to BlackRock’s Fink that he would divest all Treasury funds from BlackRock. Louisiana has removed $560 million to date and will pull out a total of $794 million by year’s end, Schroder noted.
For months now, Republican states have said they would no longer do business with asset managers who have ESG-aligned investment policies, which, the states say, show that those financial firms are boycotting the oil and gas industry.