Citi involvement in Exxon-Pioneer merger is ‘pure hypocrisy’, say climate groups

October 11, 2023
Climate finance groups slam Citi and other banks over their involvement in Exxon-Pioneer merger as ‘hypocrisy’ given the bank’s statements about supporting a transition to net-zero.

Citi is lead financial advisor for Exxon in the $59.5 billion deal which will see Exxon double down on oil production by buying Pioneer Natural Resources, a shale oil production company in the US Permian basin. Exxon is Citi’s biggest fossil fuel client, with the bank pumping in over $15 billion to Exxon since 2016.

At the same time, Citi has verbally committed to net zero by 2050 and even co-founded the global body the Net Zero Banking Alliance. The bank however has faced criticism from investors over a lack of a credible transition plan and the impact of its fossil fuel funding on Indigenous communities. In August it was among 10 banks cited in a United Nations complaint over human rights abuses linked to funding for Saudi Aramco, the world’s biggest oil producer.

Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Petrie Partners and Bank of America Securities acted as financial advisors to Pioneer in today’s merger.

Roishetta Ozane, Gulf fossil finance coordinator for the Texas Campaign for the Environment:

“Today we see the true side of Citi as a fossil fuel funder not a climate leader. Citi is a bank that likes to talk about helping communities and solving climate change. But this deal will mean even more oil production where my children and I live and even more health problems for families in the Gulf South. Citi has backed this deal and is yet again funding environmentally racist policies,” she said.

Hannah Saggau, Senior Climate Finance Campaigner:

“This is a massive deal risking more oil production and pollution – and Citi is right in the middle of it. Citibank is failing everyone: its share price has tanked for years, its staff are disillusioned through arbitrary layoffs, and it is still under investigation for compliance. Meanwhile, Citi continues to bankroll fossil fuels while publicly touting climate commitments. Actions speak louder than words, and today we got a megaphone message: Citi is doubling down on fossil fuels at the expense of our health and safety.”

Ben Cushing Campaign Director of the Sierra Club’s Fossil-Free Finance campaign:

“It is pure hypocrisy to say you want to reduce emissions from oil and gas and then act as financial adviser to Exxon to grow its oil and gas business. The left hand is doing one thing while the right is doing the opposite. Citi is clearly not taking its climate targets very seriously,” he said.

Shawna Ambrose, Rainforest Action Network Spokesperson:

“This is why it’s important to follow the money instead of greenwashed pledges. Bank of America talks about climate transition, but today it’s revealed they’re in the thick of one of the biggest oil production in years. Bank of America is profiting off of climate chaos, and must be held accountable for torching the planet as much as Exxon.”

Alice Hu of New York Communities for Change:

“Last month protesters shut down Citi’s headquarters in New York because we are tired of greenwashing from this megabank. Today Citi proved they would rather help Exxon keep profiting off fossil fuels rather than stand with communities in New York and elsewhere suffering from the ravages of climate change. Our message to Citi is that we will escalate our fight in defence of our communities and the planet.”