ING bank says it will not finance major Canadian pipeline projects

FILE PHOTO: The logo of ING bank is seen at the entrance of the group's office in Brussels, Belgium, October 3, 2016. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir/File Photo

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - Dutch lender ING Groep NV INGA.AS has said it would not finance any of Canada's major pipeline projects, including TransCanada Corp's TRP.TO Keystone XL and Energy East and Enbridge Inc's ENB.TO Line 3, after pressure from activists.

The move came after ING earlier this month publicly disavowed Kinder Morgan Canada Ltd's KML.TO Trans Mountain expansion project, but did not name any other Canadian projects.

While ING has a policy of not financing the extraction of oil sands globally, it had been unclear whether that included the Canadian pipelines. ING said it wanted to clarify its position after being targeted in June by activists who asked the bank to back away from Trans Mountain.

“Processing oil sands is known to be energy intensive, producing significant greenhouse gas emissions,” the bank said in an undated statement this week on its website. “This is in addition to potential social impacts, such as on the local native tribes historically using the land.”

The bank could not immediately confirm the precise date of this week’s statement posted on its website.

ING’s decision comes after Sweden’s largest national pension fund, AP7, sold investments in six companies in June that it says violate the Paris climate agreement, including TransCanada, in a decision environmentalists believe is the first of its kind.

Building pipelines in North America has come under fierce opposition from aboriginal communities and environmental groups, who have put pressure on banks to stop financing such projects.

A coalition of more than 20 indigenous and environmental organizations in June called on 28 major banks - including ING - to back away from Trans Mountain.

Weeks later, Kinder Morgan Canada, majority owned by Kinder Morgan Inc KMI.N of Houston, said it had raised C$5.5 billion ($4.16 billion) in credit, with the largest lenders being four of Canada's biggest banks.

Reporting by Ethan Lou; editing by Diane Craft