(Bloomberg) -- BlackRock Inc., one of the leading advocates of sustainable investing, is on a mission to persuade Texas that it’s a strong backer of the oil and gas industry.
The world’s largest asset manager touted itself in a letter to groups in the Lone Star State as “perhaps the world’s largest investor in fossil fuel companies,” with a stake of at least 6% in Irving, Texas-based Exxon Mobil Corp. and Houston’s ConocoPhillips.
“We will continue to invest in and support fossil fuel companies, including Texas fossil fuel companies,” Dalia Blass, BlackRock’s head of external affairs, said in the Jan. 3 letter. “We have not and will not boycott energy companies.”
Several of the world’s biggest money managers have joined New York-based BlackRock in pushing back against pressure to divest from fossil fuel companies to achieve long-term climate goals. They argue that shareholders, rather than outsiders, are in the best position to drive change from within and push corporate polluters to expedite the transition to a low-carbon future.
Read more: Big Money Refines Its Climate Pledge: Don’t Divest From Energy
BlackRock faced a backlash from Texas government officials, including Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, who accused the firm of being hostile to the oil and gas industry. Under a 2021 law, the state can restrict business with companies it decides are boycotting the energy industry.
In the letter, BlackRock said it expects to be a long-term investor in companies in carbon-intensive sectors because those firms will play crucial roles in the economy and in the energy transition.
Reuters reported on the letter earlier Thursday.
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