Oil and gas companies face shareholder resolutions relating to hydraulic fracturing

Shareholders, including the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, are calling for Chevron, ExxonMobil, EOG Resources, Occidental Petroleum, and Pioneer Resources to disclose their hydraulic fracturing risk assessments.

In their Proposal No. 6 on Chevron’s 2014 Proxy Statement which was filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the Sisters of St. Francis state that “Chevron does not provide investors with relevant metrics necessary to assess the company’s exposure to risks associated with the impacts of hydraulic fracturing operations and whether the company is effectively mitigating those risks.”

The Sisters propose that the company prepare an annual report containing information about each shale play, addressing the quantity and source of fresh water used in hydraulic fracturing operations, percentage of recycled water used, post-drilling groundwater quality assessments, goals to eliminate the use of open pits, a system to manage naturally occurring radioactive materials, and a method to assess and manage community and human rights impacts, including quantifying numbers and categories of community complaints of alleged impacts.

Similar resolutions have been proposed in the past by the Sisters (this is their fourth demand in as many years) and other shareholders, but all have failed. In 2011, the ExxonMobil resolution garnered 28% support from the shareholders while the Chevron resolution garnered 41% of the vote. In 2012, 29% of ExxonMobil’s shareholders supported the resolution. In 2012 and 2013, Chevron shareholders supported the resolutions 27% and 30% respectively.