Oil & gas 'needs to work on trust'

Governance gap: Explorers lagging on stamping out corruption problems, says Jonas Moberg

The oil & gas industry has been warned it has a long way to go before it stamps out deep-rooted governance, transparency and corruption problems, a conference heard on Tuesday.

A lightly-attended session at the 21st World Petroleum Congress (WPC) on Tuesday was told that while some initiatives have achieved progress in the last decade, companies need to put the issues higher up their agendas.

“We have 4000 people here [at WPC] but I do not hear a great deal about governance. I think we all know our industry is not particularly liked out there by many countries, by many stakeholders,” said Jonas Moberg, head of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), a global initiative to encourage governments to better manage natural resource revenues.

“Trust is an issue. We have an awful long way to go,” he said.

About 50 delegates were in the audience for the session on ethics and anti-corruption, held on the second day of plenary sessions at the five-day conference in Moscow.

A total of 44 companies have now signed up to the initiative, which seeks to improve accountability through regular publication of payments by oil & gas and mining companies to governments and revenues received by governments.

Moberg’s comments came as the oil and gas industry is facing renewed pressure in the US to reveal more information about its business activities.

At the start of June, the US Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) said it aims to revisit measures to implement the controversial 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform law.

It plans to rewrite by March 2015 the requirement for disclosure by oil companies of payments made to foreign and host governments, with a final rule emerging before the end of that year.

Oil companies have lobbied hard against the “publish what you pay” provision in section 1504 as it has the potential to compromise sensitive commercial information at project level in a highly competitive arena.

The WPC conference also heard from Philip Jordan, vice president of ethics at Total, who gave an update on the progress made by the French major in updating its code of ethics.

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