For a company that is banned by the state of Oklahoma from doing investments with state pension plans over its ESG discrimination of the oil and gas industry, BlackRock Inc. sure makes it appear it is doing just the opposite.
As we’ve reported this week, filings with the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission revealed BlackRock still has major investments with Vital Energy, ONEOK and ONE Gas. Now comes a new SEC filing by Chesapeake Energy which revealed BlackRock owns some of its shares.
The filing revealed Thursday showed BlackRock’s ownership totaled 11,227,586 shares in the Oklahoma City oil and gas firm. It represents 8.6% of the company’s entire shares. The filing came a week after Chesapeake announced intentions to merge with Southwestern Energy of Houston, but maintain the headquarters at the Oklahoma City campus.
BlackRock Inc. was put on a list of firms last summer that used their ESG policies to discriminate against oil and gas companies in Oklahoma. State Treasurer Todd Russ announced the list in August.
“The State of Oklahoma should not be investing money with companies that boycott one of our own industries. These financial companies are using ESG policies to promote a political, social agenda instead of allowing the free enterprise system to work,” Russ said at the time.
“When a state boycotts a major industry like oil and gas, the result is less diversification of funds, which can lead to more risks and potentially lower returns for investors,” added the Treasurer.
The list of such banned firms was the result of the implementation of the Energy Discrimination Elimination Act created by the Oklahoma legislature in 2022. It requires that the Oklahoma State Treasurer maintain a list of financial institutions that boycott oil and gas companies.
While BlackRock remains on the list, the filings with the SEC appear to contradict the intent of the Act. Earlier this week, an SEC filing declared that BlackRock, headquartered in New York, also owned 9% of the shares of ONEOK. That represents 48,030,022 shares in the utility.