Church of Ireland invests in oil giant drilling in the Arctic.

The Church of Ireland invests in an oil giant, the Eni group, that has announced that it is to begin drilling for fossil fuels in the Arctic.

The Guardian reported on 30 September 2015 that,

"Italian oil giant Eni has vowed to press ahead with oil production in the Arctic by the end of the year, undeterred by Shell’s decision to abandon its quest for Arctic oil.
As environmentalists celebrated Shell’s retreat from the Chukchi Sea this week, Eni is meanwhile making final preparations to a $5.5bn (£3.6bn) project in the Norwegian Arctic.

The Goliat project is set to become the world’s northernmost offshore oil field to come on stream, eventually pumping 100,000 barrels of oil per day from reserves believed to hold around 175m barrels of oil and 8bn cubic metres of gas."

Investments for Church of Ireland are managed by the Representative Church Body (RCB). There are two main investment funds, the General Funds/Reserves and the Specific Trusts.  The investments page of the Church of Ireland website reports that,

Total funds under management as at 31 December 2014:

General Funds/Reserves
General Funds €162.40m
Allocations Reserve €4.28m

Specific Trusts
RB General Unit Trust (RI)  €187.68m
RB General Unit Trust (NI) £44.70m

In total the General Unit Trusts are worth £183m.  Investment reports for RI and NI 2014 General Unit Trusts highlight the fact that 4 out of the top 10 investments are in companies related to fossil fuels. 

The Italian Oil giant Eni was the largest investment of the RI General Unit Trust at 1.7%, equating to €3.20m.  Meanwhile,  Eni was the 6th largest investment of the NI General Unit Trust with 1.6%, equating to £0.72m.  The total investment by the Church of Ireland in Eni is £3.06m.  

Two dioceses of the Church of Ireland, the Diocese of Down and Dromore and the Diocese of Connor have passed motions at their respective synods calling on the RCB to divest from fossil fuel companies.

I believe that the Church of Ireland should stop investing in fossil fuel companies.  To avoid catastrophic climate change we need to keep 80% of known reserves in the ground.  Drilling for new reserves in the Arctic will increase the threat to a beautiful wilderness and delicate ecosystem that is part of God's creation.


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