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Origin Energy Ltd (ASX: ORG) is under pressure from a shareholder advocacy group to suspend one key joint venture.
The company’s shares are trading at $6.105 at the time of writing, up 1.08%.
Let’s take a look at what Origin is being called to do.
Origin is facing calls from the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR) to suspend a joint venture with Falcon Oil and Gas in the Beetaloo Basin in the Northern Territory. Falcon Oil and Gas holds a 22.5% stake in the project.
The group claims Russian billionaire Viktor Vekelsberg owns 16% of Falcon Oil and Gas. This is via a subsidiary company Lamesa Group Holding SA.
Vekelsberg received a formal sanction from the Australian government on 17 March.
ACCR climate and environment director Dan Gocher said:
Origin Energy should suspend its joint venture with Falcon Oil and Gas until Viktor Vekselberg’s interest in Falcon is quarantined. Origin must ensure that Vekselberg does not benefit from any successful exploration in the Beetaloo Basin.
In response, Origin has stated it will continue to have “control over all activities” given the company is the majority operator of the project, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported.
In a statement, Origin said:
Neither Lamesa Holdings, nor Mr Vekselberg, are a party to the Beetaloo Basin joint venture. They have no role in, involvement or dealings with, Origin on the Beetaloo Basin joint venture.
Origin reiterates that it is appalled by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and will comply with all Australian rules and laws.
The Origin Energy share price has surged 27% so far this year, while it is up more than 16% year to date.
For perspective, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) has gained 9% in the past 12 months.
Origin Energy has a market capitalisation of about $10.6 billion based on its current share price.
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