Climate change activism causing 'real risk' to oil and gas companies - CMS survey

Climate change activism is presenting a significant legal risk to oil and gas companies, a new survey suggests.

A poll of senior oil and gas sector legal managers has revealed a substantial number believe net zero actions, by shareholders, investors or activists, present a “real risk” to their business.

The oil and gas disputes survey, conducted by legal firm CMS identified these and other forms of climate change activism as the biggest issue of concern with 37 per cent of respondents saying they represented a significant threat.

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Protestor disruption to offshore and onshore worksites was listed as the second most pressing area of concern with 26 per cent of respondents saying it was a real risk for their company or company group.

The CMS survey was based on more than 50 responses from senior legal managers and senior in-house counsel in the oil and gas industry across Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific, Africa and Latin America.
The CMS survey was based on more than 50 responses from senior legal managers and senior in-house counsel in the oil and gas industry across Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific, Africa and Latin America.

Valerie Allan, an Aberdeen-based partner and energy legal specialist at CMS said: “The survey provides us with interesting insights into how industry disputes are arising and being managed around the globe.

“This is an evolving situation with the onset of environmental and climate change concerns. Currently the industry is defending an ever-growing list of climate change cases as activists begin to be more assertive, often through judicial review challenges.”

Phillip Ashley, a London-based partner on CMS’s energy team, addedd: “Just as the industry is evolving and shifting according to economic, geopolitical and social changes, so too are the means of addressing risks and minimising the chances of disagreements.”

The survey was based on more than 50 responses from senior legal managers and senior in-house counsel in the oil and gas industry across Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific, Africa and Latin America.

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