- Category: Politics
08 Aug 2012
- Published on Wednesday, 08 August 2012 10:33
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The world’s biggest oil companies fall short in providing investors with crucial information on climate change risks brought by deepwater drilling activities, according to a report by investor group Ceres.
The report analyzed major oil and gas companies’ disclosures to the Securities and Exchange Commission concerning the risks involved in their oil explorations – information which they are obliged to produce based on the commission’s rules.
While investors shell out a large amount of money for oil explorations, Ceres said they are not adequately provided with information concerning their wide-ranging risks, including environmental impacts posed by deepwater drilling. Such information, Ceres said, is needed so that investors know how they are going to deal with these.
“Investors deserve better disclosure than this and the S.E.C. requires it,” said Mindy Lubber, Ceres’ president.
Among the companies assessed by the study were Apache, BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ENI, ExxonMobil, Marathon, Shell, Suncor and Total.
The study showed that BP, ENI and Suncor have provided fairly better climate risk disclosure compared with the rest, while Apache, Marathon and ExxonMobil were found to have produced inadequate disclosures.
Based on a 60 aggregate climate disclosure scores, only five companies were ranked “good,” while 34 scores were either “poor” or “no disclosure.”
“Meeting the energy needs of a growing planet need not threaten the viability of ecosystems or the lives of the workers who supply our oil and gas. Material climate change and deepwater oil and gas development risks – and the steps companies are taking to address them – are important investment considerations and should be disclosed,” said Bennett Freeman, senior vice president of sustainability research and policy at Calvert Investments.
The report said oil companies have to work on improving their transparency regarding both the risks and opportunities of deepwater drilling versus climate change, while inventors have to make efforts in encouraging these companies, as well as securities regulators including the S.E.C. and the Canadian Securities Administrators, to further demand climate risk reporting and disclosure.
Federal and state governments, on the other hand, need to relay scientific findings and other climate change developments to companies, investors and securities regulators.
As for the deepwater drilling risk recommendations, Ceres said companies should perk up their drilling risk disclosure, specifically of environmental, health and safety performance data, investment in spill prevention and response, spill contingency plans, contractor selection and oversight, and governance and management systems.
“The era of easy-to-access resources is over, and the risks of underestimating the impact of climate change and the challenges of deepwater oil and gas development are clear,” said Mr. Freeman. – C. Dominguez