BHP-Woodside merger a disaster for shareholders and climate
The Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR) is commenting on the sale of BHP’s Petroleum division to Woodside, announced today.
BHP Group (ASX:BHP) and Woodside Petroleum (ASX:WPL) have announced a merger between BHP’s Petroleum division and Woodside, creating Australia’s largest energy company and a top 10 independent LNG producer globally.
Dan Gocher, Director of Climate & Environment at the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR) said:
“As expected, this merger is a disastrous outcome for Woodside shareholders and climate.
“Woodside is doubling its exposure to oil and gas, while at the same time claiming the merger reduces risk. As we’ve seen by the destruction of shareholder value at Woodside, this trend is likely to continue with Woodside doubling down on fossil fuels.
“Woodside described an “enhanced portfolio of high return growth options”, which is completely at odds with the IEA’s conclusions that we cannot afford any further oil and gas development beyond this year.
“With Australia’s major trading partners, and therefore Woodside customers declaring net zero targets, it remains to be seen where Woodside will get its customers from.
“Woodside’s pre-existing climate commitments were dubious prior to this deal, and nothing has changed. It intends to rely entirely on land-based offsets to meet its 30% by 2030 target. Recent bushfires in Australia, Canada, Russia and Turkey prove it is utter folly to rely on offsets to reduce emissions.
“Woodside has said nothing about Scope 3 emissions, which are by far the largest share of its carbon footprint.
“The Woodside board is dominated by former oil and gas executives, so this deal is hardly a surprise. Shareholders must now be considering board renewal.
“BHP and Woodside have been at the heart of Australia’s inability to tackle climate change for the best part of 30 years. For Woodside, that will likely continue. And while BHP may one day claim to be ‘fossil fuel free’, it cannot erase its past.
“Given Woodside’s record with Northern Endeavour, questions must be asked whether it will attempt to avoid decommissioning responsibilities in the Bass Strait.”
ACCR has filed a shareholder resolution with BHP Group for consideration at its AGM in November, calling on the company to suspend membership of industry associations whose advocacy is at odds with the Paris Agreement.