t i b e t o i l
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For almost three years, we have been fighting western oil giants in a struggle to save the Tibetan plateau from China's consolidation of control over Tibet and rape of its natural resources. We are currently battling several companies: BP Amoco, ExxonMobil, and Royal Dutch Shell. Through their investments in Chinese state-owned PetroChina and its pipeline projects, all three are facilitating China's "Development of the West". We have had many victories against these monoliths, but there is still much to be done.
In early 2000, PetroChina floated an IPO on the New York Stock Exchange under great controversy. BP Amoco saved the floundering IPO with its $560 million purchase during the debut. This investment amount covers the cost of the construction of a 953-km gas pipeline across the plateau. BP Amoco and ENI/Agip are both assisting the Chinese-state company PetroChina in its oil & gas exploitation in Tibet, aiding PetroChina in sending Tibet's precious resources to the high energy demands of Shanghai in Eastern China. This is a significant escalation of China's ongoing strategy of developing Tibet into a resource extraction colony. If allowed to continue, the projects will consolidate China's control over Tibet, and further marginalize Tibetans in their own land.
BP's investment in PetroChina is part of a larger effort by the Chinese government to quickly and carelessly develop Tibet. Building a pipeline through Tibet and exhausting its rich supply of oil and gas is just one facet of the "Go West!" development scheme. BP's involvement with PetroChina marks the first large-scale contribution of the Western world to aiding China's destruction of Tibet. BP Amoco is both the largest foreign shareholder in PetroChina, and the top investor in the Chinese oil industry. Their PetroChina investment violates BP's own standards on human rights and social responsibility. Despite concerns raised by a broad coalition of interest groups, including labor, human rights, religious freedom, small business, anti-slavery, and Tibet, BP has flatly refused to address these issues with PetroChina. In December 2000, 54 organizations from 16 countries urged BP to either use its influence immediately or divest itself of PetroChina stock by January 15, 2001. Dr. Chris Gibson-Smith, Group Managing Director of BP, wrote the coalition back, noting that "neither request is practical or desirable." Though BP Amoco did not pay heed to the coalition the first time, we will continue our efforts to get BP out of Tibet!
A coalition of Tibet Support Groups filed a Special Resolution at last year's (2001) AGM, calling on BP to divest from PetroChina. The Resolution received the backing of shareholders who represent 627.5 million shares, with a market value of 3.8 billion pounds. This was a very strong showing, and should have sent a very strong message to BP that its shareholders expect BP to maintain its principles and divest from PetroChina. But in the year since the AGM, BP appears to have simply disregarded these shareholders' concerns with no tangible efforts made on behalf of its commitment to human rights.
Tibetans and supporters around the world are calling for BP to be held accountable for its investment in PetroChina, and to immediately divest itself from the company.
Please join us and raise your voice!
Q & A
What does the Tibetan Government have to say about PetroChina?
"Given the harmful effects of the gas and oil extraction projects on the Tibetan plateau, BP, AGIP, and Enron are hereby requested to immediately halt the construction of the Sebei to Lanzhou pipeline, and the increases in drilling for oil & gas on the Tibetan plateau. These corporations are further urged to withdraw investments from Chinese entities engaged in these activities, as a way of ensuring that the destruction of the Tibetan environment and the disenfranchisement of the Tibetan people does not proceed with Western support. These investments are clearly harmful to the Tibetans and will be actively opposed." ---from Statement of Opposition, Tibetan Government in Exile, September 22, 2000
What does BP say about their investment in PetroChina?
In attempts to justify their investment, they say: "Without involvement there can be no influence." ---BP Press Statement on PetroChina investment, www.bp.com
questioned on why they have not used their influence to stop the pipeline through
Tibet, they say:
What do we say?
BP should respect the wishes of the Tibetan people, and their own standards and proceedures, and not support China's colonization of Tibet with their investment in PetroChina. Furthermore, BP's admission that they have no influence over PetroChina should serve as a wake-up call to BP Shareholders that it is time to get out of PetroChina.
*click here for talking points on coalition concerns with PetroChina. For more info, please contact: email@example.com
[ photo | nancy jo johnson ]
U.S. Tibet Committee | 241 East 32nd Street | NYC 10016