The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board is acquiring a 49 per cent stake in one of California’s leading fossil fuel producers.

The CPPIB is securing its minority stake in Aera Energy from IKAV Energy Inc., an asset management company. Following the sale, IKAV will maintain a majority stake in the firm.

Founded as a joint venture between Shell and ExxonMobil Corp. in 1997, Aera produces about a quarter of California’s petroleum. The company, which also operates renewable energy resources, has active oil field operations in Fresno, Monterey and Ventura counties.

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In a press release, the CPPIB said it intends to help Aera balance its energy transition efforts with the need to continue meeting California’s conventional energy demands by repurposing its existing fossil fuel assets and improving its carbon capture and storage capability.

“Our investment in Aera Energy is consistent with a number of investments we’ve made which will help California transition to secure, green energy supplies, while at the same time will deliver long-term risk-adjusted returns for the CPP fund,” said Bruce Hogg, managing director and head of sustainable energies at the CPPIB, in the release.

In other news, the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec is backing in a long-term land stewardship company.

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The investment in Westervelt Ecological Services, a subsidiary of the Westervelt Co., is part of the Caisse’s sustainable land management initiative. Launched in 2020, it targets land assets with the potential to provide positive environmental impacts.

WES, which was launched in 2006, manages large-scale habitat restoration projects in the U.S. The Caisse partnered with WES in 2021 to acquire and manage 30,700 of timberland in Georgia.

“This new investment in Westervelt Ecological Services, whose core business is aimed at preserving and restoring biodiversity, is consistent with CDPQ’s ambitious sustainability goals and our desire to contribute to a sustainable and carbon-neutral economy,” said Emmanuel Jaclot, executive vice-president and head of infrastructure at the Caisse, in a press release.

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