PetroChina divestment resolution will go to the vote

Monday, 19 March 2001

A coalition of human rights groups concerned with BP's investment in PetroChina were informed today by BP that their resolution, instructing the Directors to divest BP's stake in PetroChina, has been accepted and will go to the vote at the company's AGM on 19 April.

The coalition of shareholders and NGOs, including Free Tibet Campaign, International Campaign for Tibet, Milarepa Fund, Friends of the Earth US and AFL-CIO (the biggest trade union organisation in the USA) have overcome obstacles, which BP put before them in late February, when the company rejected four separate shareholder resolutions.

BP had originally tried to block the resolution in late February citing 19th century case law that required a change in language and increased the percentage of votes needed to pass from 50 to 75. BP also blocked the rights of American Depositary Receipt (ADRs) holders to co-file resolutions requiring that only ordinary shareholders file. This disenfranchised 28% of BP's shareholders and has caused another resolution on BP's exploration in Alaska to be rejected.

Lorne Stockman of Free Tibet Campaign said today "Despite the challenges posed by BP to this resolution, we have shown that this issue has the support of shareholders who are concerned about PetroChina's activities in Tibet and the risks posed to BP by this investment. They want the issue discussed and voted on at the AGM and that is what will happen."

For more information contact: Lorne Stockman, 020 7833 9958, mobile 07989 599787

Notes for Editors:

1. PetroChina is building a gas pipeline across Tibet, a development opposed by the Tibetan Government-in-Exile and Tibet supporters worldwide.

2. PetroChina's parent company, the China National Petroleum Corporation, are partners in oil projects in Sudan, which are cited as fuelling the ongoing civil war in that country.

3. Four resolutions were originally submitted to the BP AGM. They were:

A resolution filed by Free Tibet Campaign and a coalition of Tibet organisations calling on BP to divest from PetroChina, a Chinese oil company building a gas pipeline across Tibet.

A Greenpeace resolution calling on BP to publish a 'carbon transition' strategy showing investors how it intends to move away from the production and sale of fossil fuels, in response to climate change.

A resolution calling on BP to provide a risk assessment on drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, submitted by US Public Interest Research Group, supported by Greenpeace and others.

A resolution filed by the Ecumenical Council for Corporate Responsibility calling on BP to formulate human rights policy commitments to apply to their strategic investments.

It is believed that only two of these resolutions have been accepted.