Protesters march in front of Talisman Energy’s 2001 general meeting in Calgary. The company was criticized for its operations in war-torn Sudan. The Anglican church’s pension fund, which divested its Talisman holdings in 2001, has re-invested in the company after the oil and gas producer sold its interests in the Sudan.
The Anglican Church of Canada’s $519-million pension fund has begun investing again in shares of Talisman Energy Inc., a Calgary-based oil and gas producer that was criticized several years ago for its operations in the Sudan.
Since Talisman announced in November, 2002 that it would sell its interests in Sudan, the pension fund’s investment managers have built up a position that has proven to be a profitable investment. As of Dec. 31, 2005, the pension plan’s 155,400 shares of Talisman were worth $9.57 million with a book value, or purchase price, of $3.02 million.
In the late 1990s, the pension plan came under pressure from several quarters – including the House of Bishops, the church’s eco-justice committee and its development arm, the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund – for its Talisman holdings because the company was seen as supporting the Sudanese Muslim government’s war on Christians and animists in the southern part of the country.
The pension fund divested its holdings as of December, 2001. During the 20-year civil war in Sudan, which started in 1983, it was estimated that two million people died and 4.5 million were displaced.
Talisman owned a 25-per cent stake in an oil consortium dominated by the Chinese and Malaysian state oil companies, with the Sudanese state oil company as a junior partner. The Sudanese government provided security for Talisman and allegations were that the company’s oil extraction was exacerbating the civil war. Peace talks gained momentum from 2002 to 2004 and a final peace treaty was signed in January, 2005.