Talisman Energy Inc.
Lawrence G. Tapp, Gail Robertson
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Board of Directors; International Management; Corporate Governance; Ethical Issues, General Management/Strategy, International, Mining
Talisman Energy is the largest Canadian oil and gas producer, with main business activities in exploration, development, production and marketing of crude oil, natural gas and natural gas liquid. At a special board of directors meeting, the management and board of Talisman conducted a review of the Sudan operations to assess its fit within the current business portfolio. After years of direct and often angry criticism by human rights groups and the fact that the United States government was threatening to restrict firms operating in Sudan from listing their securities on American markets, the board was considering its options in the region. The Sudan project had good economic value for Talisman with good future prospects and production possibilities. Additionally, the company had gone to considerable lengths to develop and implement socially responsible policies and programs in Sudan. Senior management believed that they had contributed to an increased quality of life for the people of Sudan. Despite this, activist groups had continued to attack Talisman for their role in Sudan. The continued pressure from activists and governments were believed to be responsible for a steady decrease in share price. The issue before the board in conducting this review was to question whether continuing operations in Sudan was compatible with Talisman's mandate to operate in the best interests of the company and its shareholders.