Sudan crusade

Religious and human rights leaders are claiming success in their campaign against oil companies active in Sudan.

Talisman Energy Inc. of Calgary and the state oil companies of China, Malaysia, and Sudan are operating a $2.3 billion oil project in southern Sudan.

Sudan has been accused of promoting international terrorism and domestic genocide. Opponents say oil revenues are making those programs possible (OGJ, Nov. 8, 1999, p. 34).

The Clinton administration and UN officials claim the Sudanese government has emptied villages around the Heglig oil field to prevent sabotage.

The US and Canadian governments have been applying pressure on Talisman. Now US states are getting involved.

New York City Comptroller Alan Hevesi recently said the city's pension fund would use its 160,000 Talisman shares to persuade the company to leave Sudan.

In New Jersey, members of Congress and church leaders were urging Gov. Christine Todd Whitman to sell the state's 680,000 shares.

The Texas Teachers Retirement Fund has sold 100,000 Talisman shares, and the California Public Employees' Retirement System 203,500 shares.

Talisman stock recently was trading around $28/share, down $5 from its high in the last year.

Canadian probe

The Canadian government was mulling its next step.

Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy recently sent a delegation to Sudan to determine if oil production is linked to alleged human rights abuses.

The team said it found evidence of wide-spread rights violations, but nothing linking Talisman to them.

John Harker, the team leader, said Talisman needs to do more to prove it is a responsible corporation, such as challenging the military's use of a civilian airstrip in the Heglig fields.

Axworthy has threatened to impose sanctions on Talisman unless it helps end the civil war. Harker would not say if his team recommended sanctions.

Chinese angle

Meanwhile, religious and human rights groups have urged the Clinton administration to block Chinese National Petroleum Corp. from being listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

CNPC planned to raise $5 billion in a stock offering this month. It said the funds would go to a separate company, PetroChina Co., operating only in China. CNPC could continue to operate internationally.

In December, more than 180 religious leaders wrote President Bill Clinton urging him to stop the Chinese stock listing because of CNPC's work in Sudan. They urged Clinton to include CNPC in his 1997 executive order prohibiting US companies from investing in Sudan.

The religious groups, which include the powerful Southern Baptist Convention, also have been lobbying the administration through the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, recently established by Congress.

Opponents also contacted the US Securities and Exchange Commission and the NYSE. SEC replied that it does not regulate companies' foreign activities, and NYSE said it is not a government agency and could not advance US policy through the stock-listing process.

Related Articles

Chevron, YPF to continue Vaca Muerta development

04/10/2014 Chevron Corp. and YPF SA, Buenos Aires, will continue development of Argentina’s Vaca Muerta shale formation. Chevron says it will build off the pr...

MARKET WATCH: NYMEX oil price jumps on EIA’s reduced oil production forecast

04/09/2014 The benchmark US crude oil futures price jumped more than $2/bbl on Apr. 8 after the US Energy Information Administration released a report saying ...

Statoil’s oil sands production saw slight decline in 2013

04/08/2014 Statoil ASA reported a slight decrease in its oil sands production in 2013 because of a planned multiweek plant shutdown for facility maintenance a...

Oil-price patterns—1: Oil prices reflect uneven growth rates of global demand and supply

04/07/2014

The price of oil rose from below $30/bbl to more than $145/bbl (all in money of the day) between 2004 and 2008. This was unprecedented.

Careers at TOTAL

Careers at TOTAL - Videos

More than 600 job openings are now online, watch videos and learn more!

 

Click Here to Watch

Other Oil & Gas Industry Jobs

Search More Job Listings >>
Stay Connected