Tibet campaigners re-file PetroChina divestment resolution

Thursday, 8 March 2001

[LONDON] Overcoming a number of obstacles presented by BP, Free Tibet Campaign today on behalf of a coalition of Tibet groups, re-filed a shareholder resolution, instructing BP to divest from PetroChina Ð an energy company building a pipeline in Chinese occupied Tibet. PetroChina's parent company, CNPC, is also implicated in human rights abuses in Sudan. In late February, BP rejected 4 shareholder resolutions that had been filed at the end of January.

"BP's blocking action has resulted in more shareholders coming forward to support us" said Lorne Stockman of Free Tibet Campaign. "We are confident that BP will be unable to reject our resolution this time, and that the disenfranchised people of occupied Tibet will have a voice at the AGM regarding the theft of their natural resources."

In accordance with BP's pedantic requirements, in which the company resorted to invoking 19th century case law, any resolution which "purports to be a direction to the Board" must be filed as a Special Resolution (quote from letter to shareholders by BP chairman Peter Sutherland). The Pension Research Investment Consultants (PIRC) last week described BP's response as "misjudged, unfair and inconsistent" and called on the UK Government to urgently look at this issue as part of the Company Law Review process. Special Resolutions can only be passed by a 75% vote, rather than a simple majority.

Additionally, BP stipulated that holders of American Depositary Receipts (ADRs) could not file as individuals, but were only able to act through JP Morgan, BP's nominee in the USA. BP took three weeks to decide to reject the 4 resolutions, so the new deadline of 8 March has meant that some ADR holders who co-filed the original resolution, have had difficulties getting an assurance from JP Morgan in time to re-file.

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


1. The BP/PetroChina campaign is led by Free Tibet Campaign, the International Campaign for Tibet, the Milarepa Fund, Students for a Free Tibet and the US Tibet Committee.

2. Two other shareholder resolutions have been re-filed today Ð one by Greenpeace directing BP to publish a 'carbon transition' strategy, and one submitted by the US Public Interest Research Group, demanding a risk assessment on drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The Ecumenical Council for Corporate Responsibility withdrew their resolution on an ethical strategic investment policy after it was rejected by BP.