For Canadian energy, good news seems balanced out by bad. On the one hand, rising crude prices have improved the economics for producing synthetic crude oil from Alberta's oil sands. But on the other, few members of Big Oil appear able to participate in the area without encountering rancor from environmentally-concerned shareholders.
And while the partners haven't decided whether to move forward with Sunrise -- which, along with numerous other projects, was delayed by plummeting oil prices last year -- the project could produce an impressive 200,000 barrels per day by 2020. Beyond Sunrise, BP is involved in two other oil sands projects. Its Kirby oil sands play also includes Devon Energy
The other issue on which BP defeated dissidents involved executive compensation. It's likely that activists were prodded there by CEO Tony Hayward's 41% pay increase last year in the face of lower earnings. Nevertheless, both of the issues went the company's way, by roughly an 85% margin in each vote.
But don't get the idea that BP is alone regarding tar sands environmental issues. Royal Dutch Shell
Nor is this a purely a foreign phenomenon. Both ExxonMobil
But back to BP. For my money, the company is the most rapidly improving member of Big Oil, and will make a success of Canada as it has so many other producing venues. On that basis, I'd suggest that Foolish energy investors consider salting away a few of its shares.
Fool contributor David Lee Smith doesn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned above. He does welcome your questions or comments. The Fool's disclosure policy operates in the most difficult of conditions.