Norway’s state-owned pension fund is investing in companies that continue to do highly controversial business in Burma, according to a damning report released today.
The Washington DC and Thailand-based EarthRights International (ERI) says in the report that there is “a high likelihood that the Fund is contributing to grave unethical actions in Burma through its holdings in the Fund”.
The Norwegian pension fund is a sovereign wealth fund founded on the country’s North Sea oil wealth. It is estimated to be worth some $US500 billion and holds the largest number of stocks and shares in Europe, owning approximately one percent of global equity markets.
Its size means that it has channelled approximately $US4.5 billion into companies doing business in Burma, which includes “a cumulative $US450 million invested in companies participating in the controversial Shwe gas and oil transport pipeline project” to China, according to the report.
As of December last year, investments worth $50 million were concentrated in three companies who owned the majority of the Shwe project, off- and onshore: South Korea’s Daewoo International, GAIL of India Ltd., and Korea Gas Corp.
On top of this, the Fund had a $US244 million stake in POSCO, which owns the majority of Daewoo, and approximately $US12 million invested in Hyundai Heavy Industries, which is a construction subcontractor on the project.
Furthermore, around $US90 million is invested in PetroChina and $US58 million invested in Kunlun Energy Co Ltd., the distributors in the project. It also holds a $US168 million stake in Transocean Inc, the Swiss-American drilling company implicated in BP’s Gulf of Mexico disaster, which has also been used for offshore in Burmese waters.