London, United Kingdom (PressExposure) April 18, 2013 -- During the yearly general meeting of BP, Bob Dudley mentioned that exploring the harvesting and use of shale gas could benefit the UK. Although the oil company is not involved with shale gas exploration as of the moment, its CEO believes the company might put in stakes there in the future. This came as a reaction to Cuadrilla, an independent energy company in the UK, exploring the area around the city of Blackpool.
Meanwhile, many investors in attendance were protesting about the company's chairman and the remuneration policy the executives were proposing. About 9% of the shareholders do not favour Carl-Henric Svanberg as chairman, while 7% decided not to support the remuneration policy.
Another point of disagreement in the meeting was the GBP5.2 billion share buyback, which was being funded from the sale of the company's shares in the TNK-PB joint venture, a business arrangement it had with Russian oil company, TNK International, from 2003 to 2013. The company sold all of its shares in the venture for GBP17.5 billion. Some shareholders also criticised BP's board of directors for the oil spill disaster that happened in the Gulf of Mexico when its oil rig got destroyed in 2010.
The topic of shale gas was opened up by one of the shareholders who attended the annual meeting. As a response, the BP CEO said, "When used responsibly and carefully, we think this could potentially provide great economic benefits for the UK, where natural gas prices are quite high - probably three or four times higher than they are in the United States."
Previously, BP was not so enthusiastic about shale gas effecting any changes in the UK over the next twenty years. Now, however, Dudley is openly enthusiastic about shale oil, especially about the huge prospects researchers may have found in Russia. In fact, BP has made a deal with the Russian company, Rosneft, about taking a 20% stake in their company.
Shareholders, however, continued to be dissatisfied with the company's share price, which seems to have made no signs of recovery since the Gulf of Mexico disaster and barely had any movement since BP begun its GBP5.20 billion share buyback.
Dudley, however, defended the strategy and told the media, "I think a lot of people don't understand what a buyback is. We have only just started that programme." He added, "The impact of the buyback programme will only happen over time." He also mentioned that even though there has not been that much tangible improvement of the company's share price compared to "starting to differentiate itself a bit".