• Goldman's market exposure to the industry was negative
  • Majority of firm's risk with those companies came from lending

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. went short oil and gas companies last quarter, bringing its total exposure to the industry below $12 billion for the first time since it started breaking out that risk to investors at the end of last year.

The firm’s market exposure to oil and gas companies was negative $243 million at the end of September, compared with $482 million three months earlier and $805 million at the end of 2014, the New York-based company said a regulatory filing Tuesday. The bank had $12.2 billion of credit exposure to the industry, with $10.3 billion coming from lending and $1.9 billion from derivatives and other receivables.

Oil tumbled 41 percent in the past year, dragging stock prices of companies in that industry along with it. Producers reported more than $19 billion in oil and gas writedowns last month as they acknowledged the loss in value of drilling prospects.

Of Goldman Sachs’s lending risk, $4.4 billion was to non-investment-grade companies, including $1.6 billion of funded loans, according to the filing. Chief Financial Officer Harvey Schwartz said last month that the firm had less than $200 million in exposure to commodity-trading firms, which view the bank more as a rival.

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