The New York State Common Retirement Fund, Albany, is exploring litigation among its options to protect its investment in oil giant BP, confirmed Robert Whalen, spokesman for state Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, sole trustee of the $132.6 billion fund.
“We are watching the situation,” Mr. Whalen said in an interview, referring to congressional and federal government examinations of BP's management following the April 20 oil well explosion in the Gulf of Mexico that led to a still-uncapped oil leak. “We are looking at options to hold parties responsible and accountable. Litigation is something we might pursue.”
Mr. Whalen gave no timetable for action.
“Our legal team is having regular meetings,” he said, “and our corporate governance team is having regular meetings” to review the situation.
Mr. Whelan could not quantify the amount of money the fund has lost in its BP investment. He said the fund now owns about 14.5 million shares of BP, but he couldn't immediately provide details on the fund's history of buying and selling BP shares.
BP's stock, trading at $31.78 Friday afternoon, is down 46.6% since the oil-well explosion. At that price, the fund's investment is valued at $460.8 million.