Shareholding environmentalists launch BP Amoco information website

With a week to go before BP Amoco's Annual General Shareholder's Meeting on April 15, 1999 in London, a group of Greenpeace supporters have launched an interactive website as a forum to discuss concerns and share information about BP Amoco's business strategy.

The group, Shareholders Against New oil Exploration (SANE BP), was formed by over a hundred Greenpeace supporters following the recent purchase of BP Amoco shares. SANE BP aims “to challenge BP Amoco to stop new oil development and act on its rhetoric to stop global warming caused by burning fossil fuels.”

The group’s site provides information on threats to oil and opportunities in new energy markets as well as examining individual BP Amoco projects, like the Alaskan Northstar development.

The ‘Corporate Sanity Calculator’ allows real and virtual shareholders to see how much of their investment is spent on oil exploration and development compared to renewable energy. There is an Insider page containing industry news and BP Amoco’s staff are also encouraged to contribute.

SANE BP member Stephanie Tunmore said, “Any responsible shareholder would be concerned about the contradictions in BP Amoco’s so-called commitment to climate change. We want to give BP shareholders, staff and analysts the tools to question the wisdom of searching for more oil when the world is looking for ways to get out of fossil fuels”.

“All shareholders are responsible for regulating the company and the way to do that is not to meekly accept the contents of the company’s annual report,” she said.

“While the company pats itself on the back for spending $45 million on buying into solar, its $500 million Arctic flagship Northstar project has just run aground for another year,” said Tunmore.

BP Amoco has been forced to postpone construction on its Northstar offshore oil development due to delays in obtaining federal permits. The project, if completed, could be the first producing offshore oil development in the Arctic Ocean.

The US Army Corps of Engineers is continuing to deal with concerns from the US Department of Interior and other agencies about the Northstar project. Until these concerns are addressed, the Record of Decision on the Final Environmental Impacts Statement for Northstar cannot be issued. Only after the Record of Decision is rendered can permits be granted. Given that the winter construction season in the Arctic is nearly over, BP Amoco has said that it will not have sufficient time to begin construction on Northstar this year.

The BP Amoco setback comes on the heels of an announcement by CEO John Browne, that the company will merge with the Los Angeles based Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO).

BP Amoco’s proposed merger with ARCO will cost the company around $26 billion. BP spent $198 million in restructuring costs on its acquisition of Amoco. “If BP Amoco was serious about protecting the earth from dangerous global warming, the company would be investing seriously in renewable energy technologies such as solar and wind power instead of new oil developments,” said SANE BP’s Iain MacGill.

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