BP is reassessing the “chosen venue” for its 2020 Annual General Meeting as the planned site is being converted into a coronavirus field hospital.
The energy giant intends to hold its AGM on May 27 at the ExCel exhibition centre in London, which has previously hosted big events including Crufts and Comic Con.
However, earlier this week it was announced ExCel would be turned into a makeshift hospital for up to 4,000 Covid-19 patients, meaning BP “may not be able to hold the AGM at our chosen venue at all”.
The oil major has held its past two annual gatherings in Manchester and Aberdeen respectively, planning to return to the UK’s capital to hold this year’s meeting.
However the firm said it is “looking increasingly likely that this may well prove not to be possible”, adding that it may instead be held on an “abridged basis” in line with government guidance.
In a statement, BP said: “It is looking increasingly likely that this may well prove not to be possible. We continue to monitor the rapidly developing situation, including the latest UK Government guidance.
“The health and safety of shareholders and BP staff are of paramount importance. Given the circumstances, shareholders should be aware that arrangements for the AGM may change at short notice.
“The government has advised against unnecessary travel and discouraged large gatherings.
“Should these directives from the government remain in place up to and in the build up to the AGM, the meeting may proceed on an abridged basis, conducting only those matters required by law and regulation, and participation by the proxy form may well be more appropriate.”
The meeting would be the first with new chief executive Bernard Looney in charge, and a chance for shareholders to further scrutinise BP’s net zero ambitions in light of the coronavirus outbreak.
Yesterday, the firm said: “These are challenging times, but our direction remains unchanged. We are headed for net zero, there’s no turning back.”