Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Shell shareholders turn down oil sands resolution

Royal Dutch Shell PLC shareholders have rejected a proposal that would have forced the energy giant to review its operations in Alberta’s oil sands.

About 94% of votes cast were against the resolution, which called on Shell to conduct a risk assessment related to oil sands investments. Shell argued that it had already considered potential oil sands-related charges in its business plans, and in a report released in March.

FairPensions, which coordinated a group of more than 140 investors and environmental groups that joined together to support the resolution, notes that 11% of shareholders refused to back management’s recommendation to oppose the resolution.

"Today sent a clear signal that shareholders are concerned about the risks associated with tar sands, and need to see greater transparency from Shell,” said FairPensions director of campaigns Duncan Exley in a news release.

“Tar sands have shot to the top of the City's agenda, and the oil companies have been forced to respond. In the wake of the Gulf of Mexico disaster, the need for investors to scrutinise companies' risk management strategies - and to recognise that environmental risks are also financial risks - has been made abundantly clear, and we hope that investors continue to press for a much greater level of disclosure from the oil majors in the future."

A similar resolution at BP’s annual meeting last month was also rejected, however 15% of shareholders did not back management’s call to vote against the resolution.

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