Apr 27, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Banks become the latest hurdle for Arctic oil

Prudhoe Bay, North Slope Borough, Alaska.

Prudhoe Bay, North Slope Borough, Alaska. Photo: Orbital Horizon/Copernicus Sentinel Data 2020/Gallo Images via Getty Images

Banking giant Morgan Stanley updated its environmental policy late last week, vowing that it will not "directly finance new oil and gas exploration and development in the Arctic."

Why it matters: Per Bloomberg, they're now the fifth major U.S. bank to say they will not back drilling in the region.

  • It's yet another problem for the Trump administration's efforts to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil-and-gas development, though industry interest in the expensive region is already deeply uncertain.

But, but, but: "There’s a limit to the bank vows, which generally only rule out financing tied to individual projects — such as underwriting a specific Arctic drilling venture. The pledges wouldn’t get in the way of a bank providing broad financing to oil companies that operate mostly in Alaska or the Arctic," the Bloomberg piece notes.

Go deeper: Why big banks are breaking up with some fossil fuels

Go deeper