Insurance giant Allianz has said it will stop insuring Arctic oil and gas fields by the middle of next year.
The German multinational, which is one of the biggest oil and gas sector insurers in the world, vowed to stop insuring new oil and gas fields, oil powerplants, and oil pipelines in the Arctic by January 2023.
The firm also said it would not renew existing contracts for Arctic fossil fuel projects, starting in July of next year.
Campaigners welcomed Allianz’ pledge, but criticized the insurance giant for failing to include a ban on natural gas infrastructure.
The campaigners warned that Allianz’ pledge allows it to continue insuring new gas plants and LNG terminals, as they claimed such projects have a devastating impact on the environment.
Allianz is now the tenth major insurance company to adopt policies restricting certain oil and gas projects from being insured, after major insurers including Swiss Re and Hannover Re made similar policies.
The move comes as campaigners and ESG investors have placed increasing pressure on governments and major corporations to block development of fossil fuel resources in the Arctic.
Yesterday, the Norwegian government asked the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) to dismiss a case brought forward by climate activists seeking to stop Arctic oil and gas development.
This week, US president Joe Biden also rolled back a Trump administration policy allowing companies to drill on large swathes of public land in Alaska, meaning firms will only be able to drill on 52 per cent rather 82 per cent of the Alaska National Petroleum Reserve.
It is estimated that 30 per cent of the world’s undiscovered natural gas reserves and 30 billion barrels remain in the Arctic circle, according to US Geological Survey figures.
Allianz’ pledge comes after the insurer said it would become a net-zero company by 2050, as it vowed to cut its emissions by 25 per cent by 2025.