Press release

Paris, 25 January 2023 – BNP Paribas has announced new measures intended to increase its support for “low-carbon” energy sources and to reduce its support for fossil fuels. Despite relatively ambitious targets for 2030, BNP Paribas is not taking any steps to ensure that it does not support oil and gas expansion or any measure to convince its clients to stop oil and gas expansion as soon as possible in order to limit global warming to 1.5°C. Reclaim Finance calls on BNP Paribas to review its approach and learn from best practice to halt the development of new oil and gas production and transportation projects, because what happens between now and 2030 matters as much as where we end up.

As part of the new approach (1), BNP Paribas has announced measures aimed at developing low-carbon solutions (2) and committed to reducing its outstanding oil production financing by 80% (3) and gas production financing by 30% by 2030 (4).

Lucie Pinson, Director of Reclaim Finance, says:BNP Paribas recognises the need to reduce our dependence on oil and gas, which is a source of risk, and to increase support for solutions. But this is not the right way to do this, and all the signs suggest that the French bank will continue to finance a few large clients, such as TotalEnergies, despite their strategy to expand fossil fuel production.

Adopting decarbonisation targets does not guarantee an immediate halt to financial services for oil and gas expansion for several reasons (5), including the fact that these targets only cover part of the financial services (loans, not equity and bond issues) and they allow short maturity loans that would be repaid before 2030. While meeting these targets will inevitably require the exclusion of many of the bank’s clients over time, BNP Paribas will be able to keep others in its portfolio, regardless of the size of their business or their plans for fossil fuel expansion. This could include the European oil and gas majors, such as TotalEnergies, BP and Shell, for whom BNP Paribas has been the leading banker between 2016 and 2021 (6).

We cannot be satisfied with 2030 targets when we urgently need to stop supporting further climate change. While BNP Paribas has announced measures to clarify its approach to meeting these targets, it has failed to take a firm stance against oil and gas expansion and will continue to add fuel to the fire by directly and indirectly financing new projects in the sector,” continues Lucie Pinson.

Unlike its peers ING and HSBC, BNP Paribas has not committed to ending all direct support for new oil and gas projects (7). The bank says it has not financed any oil projects since 2016 (a questionable claim (8)) and indicates that it wants to “reserve its financing in the gas sector primarily for new generation low-emission thermal power plants as well as for security of supply, gas terminals and the gas transport fleet”.

What are presented as restrictions for the gas sector in fact reflect the bank’s willingness to support its clients in developing new climate bombs, which are not needed for energy security but which are fatal for our climate goals. Gas is not a transitional energy and its real impact on the climate needs to be urgently recognised,Lucie Pinson adds (9).

According to the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) Net Zero Scenario (NZE)  to limit warming to 1.5°C, no new oil and gas production projects should be approved after 1 January 2022, and no new liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects should be approved after 1 January 2023. The scenario also indicates that the capacity of existing and under construction infrastructure is well above the volumes of LNG expected to be consumed in future decades (10).

As regards corporate (not project) finance, which accounts for the vast majority of support to the energy sector, BNP Paribas has not announced any measures to put pressure on clients to stop developing new oil and gas projects (11) but has indicated that it intends to plan the cessation of “financing activities specialising in or associated with this sector”.

To illustrate BNP Paribas’ commitments: between April 2021 when it joined the Net-Zero Banking Alliance (NZBA) and August 2022, the bank provided  a total amount of USD 1,5 billion to TotalEnergies through two transactions (12). The French major is the world’s 7th largest developer in oil and gas production (13). TotalEnergies plans to allocate 45% of its capital expenditure to the oil sector, of which approximately 20% will be spent on exploration and development of new projects, in addition to the EACOP pipeline project (14). BNP Paribas has indicated that it will not directly finance the EACOP pipeline project and its latest announcements indicate that it will ask TotalEnergies not to use the capital it allocates for oil activities.

The inclusion of clauses restricting the use of funds in financing contracts is a good way for the bank to signal to its clients its desire to see them withdraw from certain activities. However, as the money is fungible, BNP Paribas cannot guarantee that it will not support its clients’ oil activities. Once again, BNP Paribas is using the wrong method, especially since, while there is an urgent need to push companies to stop developing new projects, no 1.5°C scenario calls for an end to all support for oil by 2030. It would have been much more appropriate to call on companies to abandon their new oil projects and to make the provision of new services conditional on compliance with this demand in the short term,” concludes Lucie Pinson. 



  1. See BNP Paribas’ announcement, 24 January 2023.
  2. BNP Paribas claims to have 20% more outstanding loans for “low carbon energy production” than for fossil fuel production. It is difficult to comment on this statement, without more details on the activities that are covered on both sides and the breakdown by type of activity of the 28 billion euros currently and the 40 billion targeted by 2030. However, this claim can be contrasted with the conclusion of research carried out by Profundo for Sierra Club, Fair Finance International, BankTrack and Rainforest Action Network, which states that BNP Paribas has allocated only 7% of its energy sector financing to renewables between 2016 and 2022.
  3. BNP Paribas had already made initial announcements in May 2022. See the Reclaim Finance press release.
  4. The bank presents these targets as an extension of its commitments made within the framework of the Net-Zero Banking Alliance (NZBA) (one of the initiatives of the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ)) aimed at limiting global warming to 1.5°C. However, the metrics used are not those recommended by the NZBA and it is impossible to ensure that the bank’s portfolio will eventually be aligned with a Net-Zero 1.5°C trajectory.
  5. See explanations on page 28 and 29 of the report Throwing fuel on the fire, published by Reclaim Finance and partners in January 2023.
  6. See Banking on Climate Chaos 2022, published by Reclaim Finance, RAN, BankTrack and three other NGOs.
  7. See the policy of ING, HSBC and our reaction to the HSBC announcement. In addition, Crédit Agricole has also pledged to stop directly financing new oil fields. Compare bank policy ratings in the Oil & Gas Policy Tracker.
  8. The IJGlobal database, which is known for listing deals to large energy projects, shows a February 2019 loan to the Hokchi Oil & Gas Block project, which plans to produce 147.8 Mboe of oil and 45.4 tcf of gas. BNP Paribas also appears in IJGlobal as a financier of floating production, storage and offloading units linked to oil projects: Marlim 1 in October 2020, Alimrante Barosso in August 2020 (oil and gas), Liza Unity in November 2019 and Area 1 Mexico in April 2019.
  9. See our report The 10 Myths Against Climate Action, November 2022.
  10. See our analysis of the IEA’s NZE.
  11. HSBC has indicated that it wants to assess its support for companies in the sector against a number of criteria, including the development of new oil and gas fields.
  12. Based on financial data provided by Profundo and calculations by Reclaim Finance.
  13. Based on the Global Oil & Gas Exit List 2022 published by Urgewald.
  14. Based on data presented by TotalEnergies in September 2022.