BP Amoco opts out of Tibet pipeline, retains stake in PetroChina

BP Amoco PLC on Friday said it would not directly participate in PetroChina's controversial Tibet gas pipeline, although it is now the largest foreign shareholder in the company. It said its investment in PetroChina is for development in China.


BP Amoco PLC on Friday said it would not directly participate in PetroChina's controversial Tibet gas pipeline, although it is now the largest foreign shareholder in the company. It said, "BP Amoco's investment in PetroChina is for development in China."

Since BP Amoco took its 20% publicly traded share holding in PetroChina, it has faced much criticism from human rights, labor, religious freedom, and environmental groups across the world, mostly because of the unfortunate reputation of China National Petroleum Corp. on these fronts. CNPC holds a controlling interest in PetroChina.

The Tibet gas project plan calls for the production, transport, and retail sales of natural gas from the Tsaidam basin on the Northern Tibetan Plateau.

The Sebei-to-Lanzhou pipeline would be the first major western corporate investment in occupied Tibet. Protestors to the pipeline plan allege no environmental impact study or community consultations are known to have taken place, but construction reportedly began on the project in late March and is expected to last until at least October 2001.

Anti-PetroChina protesters fear that BP Amoco's financial support for PetroChina will allow CNPC to expand questionable practices in Tibet and the Sudan.

In response, BP Amoco said in a statement: "We welcome and support Clinton Administration efforts, and those of the Commission on International Freedom, to monitor and ensure that funds from investments such as BP Amoco's are not transferred to Sudan. We also support PetroChina's appointments of independent advisors to monitor the use of the IPO proceeds toward capital investment and debt repayment.

"As a strategic investor in PetroChina we will encourage the company to adopt progressive policies which meet international standards. We will encourage them to respect the interests of all citizens in their business activities, be they in Tibet autonomous region or any other region. In the JVs we create together with PetroChina, we will adopt policies that meet international standards," said BP Amoco.

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