News | Uni invests thousands in oil shares

The University has invested a total of over £1 million into oil companies.

The University’s current holdings in BP and Shell are £1.032m and £278,000 respectively.

A University spokesperson said: “We have held shares in these companies since at least December 2000 and any dividends received are allocated to the endowment income accounts.”

BP has also donated a total of £702,000 to the University over three years.

Between 2009 and 2012 the money was divided across the Schools of Process Engineering, Electronic and Electrical Engineering, Earth Science and Mechanical Engineering.

The money also contributed towards scholarships for the schools’ students. The University has emphasised that the conditions of the scholarships stated that students were not expected to take up a role
with BP.

A spokesperson for BP said: “I believe we’re still funding a couple of Masters degrees.”

Shell has also made donations to a number of schools.

Recruiting for the Shell scholarship scheme has now stopped. However remaining payments are still made to existing students completing their courses.

A spokesman for Shell told LS: “The Scholarship Scheme is in its last year and supported 24 Engineering and Geoscience students at the University of Leeds throughout the life of the programme.”

BP and Shell have frequently come under attack from student groups because of their unlocking of fossil fuels, believed to contribute to global warming.

Louise Hazan, the Climate Change Campaigns Manager for People and Planet society said: “Leeds students have a right to know if the University is investing in and supporting the very companies doing the most to wreck their future by fuelling the climate crisis.”

One anonymous student, who received a scholarship, told LS: “During my time at university, large oil companies such as BP and Shell have offered numerous scholarships and internship opportunities. They continue to provide employment to a number of students and have assisted in providing facilities to help the completion of my degree.”

Hazan from People and Planet added: “It’s fundamentally against the public interest for our universities to carry out research that helps companies like Shell unlock more fossil fuels.”

BP responded: “We simply provide the energy that our society needs,” adding: “We all have a great thirst for energy, and we’re here to meet those demands.”

Sean Hayes

Photo: The Guardian

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