Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase have consistently been the biggest bankers of U.S. fracking, together providing almost 40% of financing since the Paris Agreement was adopted.
In a September 2020 report, Rainforest Action Network quantifies financing provided to U.S.-focused frackers: companies with over 40% of their production over the last decade in U.S. shale, and where that U.S. shale production was over 100 million barrels. The report finds that Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase have consistently been the biggest bankers of U.S. fracking, together providing almost 40% of financing since the Paris Agreement was adopted (38.6%). These banks have combined with Citi and Bank of America to provide over half of U.S. fracking financing since Paris (53.5%).
The report also finds that from 2016 to 2020, 72 percent of the top U.S. frackers’ bonds, underwritten by big banks, were issued below investment grade. In 2016, as these drillers were emerging from the oil price crash of the two previous years, the companies analyzed issued $23 billion in additional shares to repay debt, fund mergers and acquisitions, and continue fracking. Equity issuances have dropped sharply since then. In addition, after 2016, as investors soured on fracking companies, banks continued to shower the sector with loans.
Rainforest Action Network (RAN) is a nonprofit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) corporation that preserves forests, protects the climate and upholds human rights by challenging corporate power and systemic injustice through frontline partnerships and strategic campaigns. RAN's most recent financial disclosure can be found here. Other RAN reports can be found here.