|OPINIONS AND ANALYSES|
LETTER TO CHEVRON
Franklin Research & Development Corporation,
Mr. Kenneth T. Derr
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
575 Market Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
October 9, 1998
Dear Mr. Derr:
The recent protests in Chevron s concession in Nigeria prompt me to request an urgent meeting between Chevron management, shareholders and other relevant stakeholders.
Franklin Research & Development Corporation (FRDC) is a socially responsible investment managing over $500 million in client assets. For the last three years, FRDC has filed shareholder resolutions at Chevron concerning the company's operations in Nigeria in conjunction with religious institutions and trade union pension funds.
FRDC is following closely reports of the recent protests in the oil producing regions of Nigeria. We understand from reports that there has been unrest in Chevron s oil concession and that Chevron officials have stated that a number of community projects supported by the company have been destroyed in the chaos. We are particularly disturbed by the recent report on Pacifica Radio that, in May, Nigerian troops authorized by Chevron to fly to one of the company's off-shore drilling platforms killed two demonstrators occupying the site.
FRDC believes that one of the root causes of this violence in Nigeria is that the communities in which Chevron operates see little benefit from the oil extracted from their lands. A recent Reuters story quoted a local official in Bayelsa State: "You go to the flowstations, you see they are very well equipped, with all modern facilities. You go to the neighboring village, there is no water to drink, no food to eat .That is bringing about protests"
We remain concerned that protests in Nigeria can affect Chevron's business in the US and Europe. Mr. Oronto Douglas, former attorney for the executed community leader Ken Saro-Wiwa, has called for oil companies to leave Nigeria. During his recent trip to America, Mr. Douglas specifically praised the US cities that have enacted selective purchasing laws that effectively bar municipal purchasing from companies - such as Chevron - which do business in Nigeria.
In February of this year, FRDC hosted a meeting between officials of Mobil, concerned shareholders and representatives of the AFL-CIO, Africa Fund, Amnesty International and the Nigerian Advocacy Group for Democracy & Human Rights. Mobil made top management available for the meeting, including Mr. Paul Caldwell, Chairman of Mobil Producing Nigeria and Mr. J. R. Massey, President of Mobil Africa & Middle East. The discussion was frank, substantive and constructive and helped build communication between Mobil, its shareholders and other stakeholders.
Building on our experience with Mobil, FRDC specifically requests
Chevron make its managers in Nigeria available for a similar dialogue.
I will contact Chevron's Corporate Secretary, Ms. Lydia Beebe, shortly
in the hope of setting up this meeting soon.
Ms. Lydia Beebe, Corporate Secretary, Chevron Corporation
Mr. Frank Coleman, Director of Socially Responsible Investing, Christian
Brothers Investment Services
Mr. James Coombes, Chief Financial Officer, Mercy Health Services
Sr. Valerie Heinonen, Ursuline Sisters of Tildonk
Ms. Carolyn Lauer, International Affairs Coordinator, Service Employees International Union
Sr. Ann Walters, OP, Counselor in Finance, Grand Rapids Dominicans