India’s State Oil Company Excluded by Norway’s Wealth Fund

A vehicle travels past the ONGC Ltd. building at the Bandra Kurla Complex in Mumbai, India. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

India’s State Oil Company Excluded by Norway’s Wealth Fund

India’s state-owned Oil & Natural Gas Corp has been excluded from the world’s biggest sovereign wealth fund, due to the “unacceptable risk that the company is contributing to serious violations of the rights of individuals” in its joint ventures with South Sudan’s national oil company Nile Petroleum Corporation.

The exclusion was announced by Norges Bank late Thursday after a recommendation from the Council on Ethics, an independent body that investigates possible norm breaches in the wealth fund’s $1.4 trillion portfolio. The Norwegian wealth fund is the world’s single largest investor in listed companies, owning about 1.4% globally.

The ethics council said that companies operating in situations of war and conflict must be particularly careful when there’s a known risk for norm violations. “Such care also applies to their choice of business partners,” it said in its assessment.

ONGC told the Council on Ethics that “no incidents of human rights abuses have been reported within the joint ventures’ areas of operation”, and that there are no links between assaults on the civilian population and the company’s operations. The council considers, however, that as long as the company continues its collaboration, there’s an unacceptable risk of it contributing to such abuse, it said.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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