Investors Challenge Oil and Gas Companies Over Hydrofracking

A group of institutional investors has filed shareholder resolutions to pressure oil and gas companies into using better hydraulic fracturing procedures.


A group of institutional investors has filed resolutions to challenge oil and gas companies over their hydraulic fracturing procedures, according to Ceres, a network of investors, public interest groups and environmental groups.

The coalition of U.S.-based money managers filed shareholder resolutions with nine oil and gas companies, including ExxonMobil, Ultra Petroleum, Southwestern Energy and Anadarko. The group’s goal is to pressure the energy firms to practice more responsible behavior and gain more transparency regarding the industry’s management of water pollution, litigation and regulatory risks that are a by-product of so called “fracking” or hydraulic fracturing.

Gas and oil companies rely on hydrofracking to reach previously inaccessible reservoir reserves of natural gas and oil deep underground. They use high-pressure injections of water, chemicals and particles to break up shale formations and release trapped natural gas. The shareholder resolutions aim to shed light on the environmentally damaging aspects of the “fracking” process, and also demand more safety and less chemicals used.

The group of investors include New York State Comptroller, Domini Social Investments and As You Sow. “Hydraulic fracturing must be done in a way that protects the environment and public health,” says Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres. Poor well-construction practices are the main cause of environmental risks such as contaminated drinking water, well blowouts and gas leaks, according to the report..

Read the complete press release.