Santos shows contempt for investors, climate change, at its AGM

Adelaide, Thursday, 4 May 2017

A resolution that would have directed Santos to disclose the risks climate change poses to its business has been defeated at today’s annual general meeting of the company, which reiterated its intent to explore for more unconventional gas and said that when considering its future under climate change scenarios it adopts a “four degree pathway”.

Here’s Chairman Peter Coates telling shareholders just what sort global warming Santos is planning for:

While Santos’ contempt for addressing climate change and the environmental risks of unconventional gas was on display, the real villains of the day were investors, who had been calling for more disclosure from Santos over the risks climate change poses to its business, but backed away from voting for a resolution that would have made it happen.

After Santos released a statement on climate change disclosure a fortnight before the AGM, many investors were convinced that the company was now doing enough, a sentiment that Peter Coates relished inside the AGM:

Somehow their climate change statement, which contained no new commitments on climate risk disclosure, won over investors, which include AustralianSuper and many other major superannuation funds, directed by the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors.

We wonder how they feel now. Conned? Mystified? We hope so, because whether or not they have been taken for a ride by Santos, or just strong-armed into backing down, their credibility on supporting climate risk disclosure has just evaporated.

 

Narrabri farmers hold Santos’ feet to the flame

A number of shareholders voiced concern about Santos’ ongoing plans to drill for unconventional gas in Northern New South Wales

As if any more evidence was needed that Santos were operating in a way that should ring alarm bells for investors, a reminder of the company’s drive to drill for unconventional gas was made loud and clear at the AGM.

Farmers, threatened by drilling in the Pilliga region near Narrabri in New South Wales demonstrated their outrage at Santos’ dogged pursuit of a project that would not only be completely incompatible with the notion of holding global warming below two degrees (clearly an outcome Santos is not preparing for). The Narrabri project threatens farmland and peoples’ livelihoods, and would be an economic disaster for a country trying to work out how to constrain out of control gas prices – itself an issue delivered partly by Santos, whose Gladstone LNG project has opened up Australia to the global gas market.