In November 2017, Norges Bank advised the Ministry of Finance to exclude the oil and gas sector from the benchmark index for the GPFG, in order to reduce the oil price risk associated with the state’s wealth.

Against the background of the advice from Norges Bank, the Ministry of Finance appointed an expert group chaired by Professor and Rector of the Norwegian School of Economics, Øystein Thøgersen. Based on an overall assessment, the expert group takes the view that the GPFG should remain invested in energy stocks.

The issue has been circulated for public consultation. Many of the bodies invited to submit consultative comments appear to agree with the assessment of the expert group that the economic impact of Norges Bank’s proposal on oil price risk in the Norwegian economy would be limited, but there are nonetheless diverging opinions as to whether the energy sector should be excluded from the GPFG. Whilst a number of the consultative comments emphasise that it would be a step in the right direction, others note that it may undermine the financial objective of the Fund and encompass companies with major and expanding renewable energy operations.