Whereas: The merger between Petro-Canada and Suncor Energy Inc. included assets currently managed through a joint venture with the Syrian government-owned General Petroleum Corporation. The joint venture operates a natural gas gathering, treatment and production system, providing royalties and profits to the government of Syria.
In March 2011, public demonstrations and protests aimed at broadening individual rights, which had been underway in a number of Arab republics, spread to Syria. Over the last eight months, the government crackdown on protestors has resulted in more than 4000 deaths.1
On August 18, 2011 the US government imposed sanctions on the Syrian energy sector as a means of reducing sources of revenue for the Syrian government. The US Executive Order formally banned any transactions or dealings, by US persons or entities, with Syrian origin petroleum or petroleum products. The order also gives the US Secretary of the Treasury the right to impose sanctions on any person or entity who has provided support to the government of Syria or entities controlled by the government.2
The Board of Directors has a duty to protect the interests of shareholders. Reputational and political risks brought on through strategic investment and partnership have the potential to negatively impact shareholder value.
Be it resolved that the Board undertake a review of Suncor Energy Inc.’s joint venture investment in Syria to: determine the probability and potential impact of US imposed sanctions on Suncor; and develop a contingency plan to divest assets held in Syria and terminate agreements with Government of Syria entities.
1. “Syria Presses Crackdown After Agreeing to Arab League Plan” Bloomberg News, Nov 4, 2011