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New York Pension Fund to Divest some Exxon Holdings

Feb 15 (Reuters) - The New York State Common Retirement Fund will restrict its investments in eight integrated oil and gas companies, including the divestment of a small share of its holdings in Exxon Mobil, New York Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, who oversees retirement assets, said on Thursday.

The move follows a review of the companies' readiness to transition to a low-carbon economy, DiNapoli said.

Decisions by the third-largest U.S. state pension fund are closely followed as other institutions weigh whether to move away from fossil fuel stocks.

The fund had holdings of nearly $26.8 million as of Dec. 31, 2023 from the companies to be divested and restricted, which include Guanghui Energy Company, Echo Energy, IOG , Oil and Natural Gas Corp, Delek Group, Dana Gas and Unit Corp.

Those holdings were in corporate bonds and actively managed public equity, DiNapoli's office said. The fund "will continue to hold Exxon and the others that are restricted in its passive index holdings at this time," a spokesman for DiNapoli said via e-mail.

While about $25 million worth of Exxon shares will be divested, the fund's other Exxon holdings total about $500 million, spokesman Matthew Sweeney said.

"The passive strategy is fundamental to the Fund and has been successful. The review determined that removing it from the passive index would go against fiduciary duty at this time," Sweeney said.

Exxon did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

DiNapoli's fund in 2022 had said it would sell $238 million worth of stock and debt it holds across 21 shale oil and gas companies, saying they have not shown they are ready to move to a low-emissions economy.

While various universities and public pension funds have restricted oil and gas holdings, few large corporate asset managers have taken similar steps amid high energy prices.

Reporting by Seher Dareen in Bengaluru and by Ross Kerber in Boston; Editing by Shailesh Kuber and Elaine Hardcastle

Source: Reuters

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