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The Netherlands has achieved a fairly low overall score in implementing the 2019 EITI Standard

Outcome of the Validation of the Netherlands

Decision number
2021-72
Decision basis
EITI Articles of Association 2019-2021, Article 12.1. ix)
8 December 2021

Board decision

The Netherlands has achieved a fairly low overall score in implementing the 2019 EITI Standard (56 points). The overall score reflects an average of the three component scores on Stakeholder engagement, Transparency and Outcomes and impact.

The EITI Board commends the Netherlands for establishing a platform for multi-stakeholder dialogue on the governance of the extractive industries and for demonstrating that most extractive industry information including production, export and licensing data is systematically disclosed. However, the Netherlands achieved a low score on Outcomes and impact (48 points). This reflects low public interest in the initial set of narrow objectives for the Netherlands’ EITI implementation. There appears to be stakeholder interest in expanding the objectives to other areas which could increase outcomes and improve stakeholder engagement. The Board encourages the Netherlands to identify topics on which the EITI, through its disclosure requirements and multi-stakeholder model, can add value in public debate.

On Transparency, the Netherlands reached a fairly low score (68 points). The Netherlands has built a robust reconciliation of company payments with government revenues, even if the resulting data appears of little public interest. The lack of discrepancies in reconciliation has given comfort to government and industry stakeholders on the MSG. The Board further welcomed that most extractive industry information including production, export and licensing data is systematically disclosed by the Dutch Oil and Gas Portal (NLOG). However, data disclosures of public interest, from the terms of cooperation agreements between the oil and gas SOE, EBN, and license holders, to the environmental impacts of the extractive industries, are aspects of the EITI Standard that have not yet been addressed by the MSG. Further disclosures of contracts, environmental management and fiscal projection for extractive industry revenues could ensure closer alignment between NL-EITI data and public demands for information.

The Netherlands achieved a fairly low component score on Stakeholder engagement (53 points). There are weaknesses in the three constituencies’ engagement in EITI implementation, partly linked to the limited aspirations set for NL-EITI to date. While the MSG fulfils its basic functions of facilitating multi-stakeholder oversight of implementation, many of its processes, including MSG nominations, are conducted on an informal basis.

The Board has determined that the Netherlands will have until a next Validation commencing on 1 January 2024 to carry out corrective actions regarding the work plan (Requirement 1.5), public debate (Requirement 7.1), data accessibility and open data (Requirement 7.2), recommendations from EITI (Requirement 7.3), outcomes & impact (Requirement 7.4), government engagement (Requirement 1.1), industry engagement (Requirement 1.2), civil society engagement (Requirement 1.3), MSG governance (Requirement 1.4), economic contribution (Requirement 6.3), contracts (Requirement 2.4), contract and license allocations (Requirement 2.2), license register (Requirement 2.3), beneficial ownership (Requirement 2.5), in-kind revenues (Requirement 4.2), production data (Requirement 3.2), comprehensiveness (Requirement 4.1), barter agreements (Requirement 4.3), transportation revenues (Requirement 4.4), disaggregation (Requirement 4.7), data quality (Requirement 4.9), direct subnational payments (Requirement 4.6) and social and environmental expenditures (Requirement 6.1).

Failure to demonstrate progress on Stakeholder engagement, Transparency, and Outcomes and impact in the next Validation may result in temporary suspension in accordance with Article 6 of the EITI Standard. In accordance with the EITI Standard, the Netherlands’ MSG may request an extension of this timeframe or request that Validation commences earlier than scheduled.

Background

The Netherlands was accepted as an EITI implementing country on 27 June 2018. The first Validation of the Netherlands was scheduled to commence on 28 December 2020. Due to the transition to the revised Validation model, the Board rescheduled the Validation to commence on 1 April 2021. On 10 May 2021, the EITI Board approved the Netherlands’ request for an extension to its Validation deadline, to 1 July 2021.

The Netherlands EITI collated documentation for Validation using the Board-agreed data collection templates on Stakeholder engagement, Transparency and Outcomes and impact. The files are available on the Netherlands EITI website. The International Secretariat’s Validation team prepared an initial assessment following the Validation procedure and Validation Guide. In accordance with the Validation procedure, a public call for stakeholder views on EITI implementation was open from 1 June to 1 July. Virtual stakeholder consultations were undertaken from July to September 2021.

The draft assessment was shared with the MSG for feedback on 24 September 2021. MSG comments were received on 22 October, after which the assessment was finalised for the Validation Committee’s review.

In accordance with Article 4.c of Section 4 of the 2019 EITI Standard, the overall assessment consists of component scores on Stakeholder engagement, Transparency and Outcomes and impact, as well as an overall numerical score. The component score represents an average of the points awarded for each applicable requirement. The points awarded on the effectiveness and sustainability indicators are added to the component score on Outcomes and impact. The overall score is the average of the three component scores.

Corrective actions and strategic recommendations

The EITI Board agreed the following corrective actions to be undertaken by the Netherlands. Progress in addressing these corrective actions will be assessed in the next Validation commencing on 1 January 2024:

  1. In accordance with Requirement 1.5.a, the Netherlands should set EITI implementation objectives that are linked to national priorities for the extractive industries. The MSG should address the steps needed to mainstream EITI implementation in company and government systems. The MSG is encouraged to explore innovative approaches to extending EITI implementation to inform public debate about natural resource governance and encourage high standards of transparency and accountability in public life, government operations and in business. In accordance with Requirement 1.5.b, the EITI work plan should reflect the results of consultations with key stakeholders. In accordance with Requirement 1.5.c.iv, the work plan should outline the MSG’s plans for implementing the recommendations from EITI implementation and Validation. In accordance with Requirement 1.5.d, the work plan should Identify domestic and external sources of funding and technical assistance where appropriate in order to ensure timely implementation of the agreed work plan.

  2. In accordance with Requirement 7.1.a.i, all constituencies engaged in EITI in the Netherlands should ensure that EITI information is widely accessible and distributed and could consider breaking this down into thematic reports. In accordance with Requirement 7.1.a.iii, the Netherlands should ensure that EITI-related outreach events, whether organised by government, civil society or companies, are undertaken to spread awareness of and facilitate dialogue about governance of extractive resources, building on EITI disclosures across the country in a socially inclusive manner.

  3. In accordance with Requirement 7.2, the Netherlands could ensure that government agencies and companies publish EITI data under an open license, and to make users aware that information can be reused without prior consent. The Netherlands should ensure that the data required by the EITI Standard is published in an open data format online and publicise its availability. The Netherlands could consider making systematically disclosed data machine readable and inter-operable, and to code or tag EITI disclosures and other data files so that the information can be compared with other publicly available data.

  4. In accordance with Requirement 7.3, the Netherlands is required to take steps to act upon lessons learnt; to identify, investigate and address the causes of any information gaps and discrepancies; and to consider the recommendations resulting from EITI implementation. Where appropriate, the Netherlands is encouraged to follow up on such recommendations.

  5. In accordance with Requirement 7.4.a, the Netherlands is required to document the annual EITI review of impact and outcomes of EITI implementation in an annual progress report or through other means agreed by the MSG, including a narrative account of efforts to strengthen the impact of EITI implementation on natural resource governance, including any actions to extend the detail and scope of EITI reporting or to increase engagement with stakeholders. In accordance with Requirement 7.4.b, all stakeholders should be able to participate in reviewing the impact of EITI implementation.

  6. In accordance with Requirement 1.1, the government should ensure that it is fully, actively, and effectively engaged in all aspects of EITI implementation, both in terms of high-level political leadership and operational engagement. The Netherlands may wish to consider the extent to which alignment of NL-EITI objectives with national priorities would demonstrate the use of EITI to government and ensure that adequate resources are devoted to ensuring outcomes and impact in line with government reform priorities for the extractive industries.

  7. In accordance with Requirement 1.2, the industry constituency should ensure that companies are fully, actively, and effectively engaged in all aspects of EITI implementation. The government must ensure that there are no obstacles to company participation in the EITI process, including by developing effective means of overcoming taxpayer confidentiality constraints, potentially by building on mandatory payments to government disclosures by extractive companies domiciled in the Netherlands. The Netherlands may wish to consider the extent to which revisions to the objectives for EITI implementation, potentially building on the legal framework for mandatory payments to government disclosures, could catalyse greater industry interest and participation in EITI implementation.

  8. In accordance with Requirement 1.3, the civil society constituency should ensure that it is fully, actively, and effectively engaged in all aspects of EITI implementation. The Netherlands may wish to consider the extent to which revisions to the objectives for EITI implementation, potentially including issues related to the environmental impact of the extractive industries, oil and gas infrastructure decommissioning and the energy transition, could catalyse greater civil society interest and participation in EITI implementation.

  9. In accordance with Requirement 1.4.b.ii, the Netherlands should ensure that the MSG undertakes effective outreach activities with civil society groups and companies, including through communication such as media, website and letters, informing stakeholders of the government’s commitment to implement the EITI, and the central role of companies and civil society. The MSG should also widely disseminate the public information that results from the EITI process. In accordance with Requirement 1.4.b.iii, the Netherlands should ensure that members of the MSG should liaise with their constituency groups. To strengthen implementation, the Netherlands is encouraged to ensure that the constituency nominations procedures for MSG membership are publicly codified. Subject to the recommended reassessment of EITI implementation objectives, the MSG may wish to consider whether the inclusion of new stakeholders relevant to these new objectives may be desirable.

  10. In accordance with Requirement 6.3, the Netherlands should ensure that estimates of the extractive industries’ contribution to government revenues and exports are publicly disclosed. Government revenues and exports should encompass the contribution of all subsectors of extractive industries, beyond natural gas and salt mining. Additionally, the Netherlands may wish to use EITI reporting as a means of explaining differences in publicly accessible data on the macroeconomic contribution of the extractive industries, potentially aligning these data disclosures with the International Standard Industrial Classification system’s category B. on mining and quarrying or equivalent.

  11. In accordance with Requirement 2.4.c.ii, the Netherlands is required to publish a list of all active contracts and licenses, indicating which are publicly available and which are not, with specific links to each published document.  Where there are claims that all contracts under these regimes have standard stipulations as mandated by law and that there are no deviations from such provisions, the onus is on the Netherlands to substantiate such claims. In accordance with Requirement 2.4.c.iii, the Netherlands should publish an explanation for any deviations between disclosure practices and legislative or government policy requirements concerning the disclosure of contracts and licenses. The NL-EITI MSG should document its  view of whether Cooperation Agreements involving EBN in the oil and gas sector constitute forms of contracts, in accordance with the definition of contracts provided in Requirement 2.4.d.i, and ensure that any new contracts granted after 1 January 2021 are comprehensively disclosed to the public, including any annexes and amendments, in accordance with Requirement 2.4.a.

  12. In accordance with Requirement 2.2.a, the Netherlands should ensure that information on mining, oil and gas license transfers is publicly disclosed, including the identity of licenses transferred and the process for transferring licenses, including technical and financial criteria assessed. In accordance with Requirement 2.2.a.iv, the Netherlands is required to ensure public disclosure of its assessment of any material deviations from the applicable legal and regulatory framework governing license transfers and awards in license awards and transfers in the period under review by EITI reporting.

  13. In accordance with Requirement 2.3.b.iii, the Netherlands should ensure that dates of application and of expiry are public disclosed and accessible for each active license in the mining, oil and gas sector.

  14. In accordance with Requirement 2.5 and to prepare for the second phase of Validation of Requirement 2.5 from January 2022 onwards, the Netherlands is required to ensure that the beneficial ownership of all companies holding or applying for a mining, oil and gas license is comprehensively and reliably disclosed as of January 2022. In the meantime, in accordance with Requirement 2.5.c, the Netherlands is required to ensure that the MSG publishes an assessment of the comprehensiveness and reliability of beneficial ownership disclosures of all companies holding or applying for a mining or oil and gas license to date. Publicly listed companies, including wholly owned subsidiaries of companies listed on stock exchanges, are required to disclose the name of the stock exchange, and include a link to the stock exchange filings where they are listed, in accordance with Requirement 2.5.f.iii. Lastly, the Netherlands is also required to ensure that legal ownership data is available either through NL-EITI reporting or through systematic disclosures, in accordance with Requirement 2.5.g.

  15. In accordance with Requirement 4.2, where the sale of the state’s share of production of natural gas collected in kind is material, the Netherlands, including state-owned enterprises such as EBN, is required to disclose the volumes received and sold by the state (or third parties appointed by the state to sell on their behalf), the revenues received from the sale, and the revenues transferred to the state from the proceeds of natural gas sold.

  16. In accordance with Requirement 3.2, the Netherlands should ensure that both production volumes and values are publicly disclosed for each extractive commodity produced in the period under review. To strengthen implementation, the Netherlands’ public disclosures related to production data could include sources and the methods for calculating production volumes and values.

  17. In accordance with Requirement 4.1.a, the Netherlands should ensure that its materiality decisions related to selecting companies and revenue streams for reconciliation are clearly documented and followed in practice. In accordance with Requirement 4.1.c, the MSG should ensure that the materiality of payments from each non-reporting entity and the nature of discrepancies are clearly assessed to inform an IA’s overall assessment of the comprehensiveness of reconciliation. In accordance with Requirement 4.1.d, unless there are significant practical barriers, the government is additionally required to provide full disclosure of material revenues from non-material companies, disaggregated by revenue stream. To further improve the usefulness of EITI implementation in the Netherlands, the MSG may wish to consider cross referencing companies’ publication of Payments to Governments Reports mandated by the country’s implementation of the EU Accounting and Transparency Directives to provide assurances that all companies making material payments to government have been included in the scope of annual EITI reporting. This step could provide additional value in assessing the degree to which extractive companies in the Netherlands adhere to their legal payments to government reporting obligations.

  18. In accordance with Requirement 4.3, the Netherlands is required to consider whether there are any agreements, or sets of agreements involving the provision of goods and services (including loans, grants and infrastructure works), in full or partial exchange for oil, gas or mining exploration or production concessions or physical delivery of such commodities. Where the MSG concludes that these agreements are material, the MSG and the Independent Administrator are required to ensure that the EITI Report addresses these agreements, providing a level of detail and transparency commensurate with the disclosure and reconciliation of other payments and revenues streams. Should the MSG conclude that such terms do not exist in any agreement, it should ensure public documentation of the basis for its assessment.

  19. In accordance with Requirement 4.4, the Netherlands should ensure that the government and SOE publicly disclose the revenues received from the transportation of oil, gas and minerals, where material, to levels in line with the level of disaggregation prescribed under Requirement 4.7.

  20. In accordance with Requirement 4.7, the Netherlands should ensure that reconciled financial EITI data is disaggregated by each individual project, company, government entity and, for revenue streams levied on a per-project basis, by revenue stream. Disclosures of revenues should be disaggregated to the levels at which the payments are levied. The Netherlands should clarify which agreements are deemed to be substantially interconnected or are unified under a single overarching agreement.

  21. In accordance with Requirement 4.9.a, the EITI requires an assessment of whether the payments and revenues are subject to credible, independent audit, applying international auditing standards. In accordance with requirement 4.9.b.iii and the standard Terms of Reference for the Independent Administrator agreed by the EITI Board, the MSG and Independent Administrator should:

    • examine the audit and assurance procedures in companies and government entities participating in the EITI reporting process, and based on this examination, agree what information participating companies and government entities are required to provide to the Independent Administrator in order to assure the credibility of the data in accordance with Requirement 4.9. The Independent Administrator should exercise judgement and apply appropriate international professional standards in developing a procedure that provide a sufficient basis for a comprehensive and reliable EITI Report. The Independent Administrator should employ his/her professional judgement to determine the extent to which reliance can be placed on the existing controls and audit frameworks of the companies and governments. The Independent Administrator’s inception report should document the options considered and the rationale for the assurances to be provided.

    • ensure that the Independent Administrator provides an assessment of comprehensiveness and reliability of the (financial) data presented, including an informative summary of the work performed by the Independent Administrator and the limitations of the assessment provided.

    • ensure that the Independent Administrator provides an assessment of whether all companies and government entities within the agreed scope of the EITI reporting process provided the requested information. Any gaps or weaknesses in reporting to the Independent Administrator must be disclosed in the EITI Report, including naming any entities that failed to comply with the agreed procedures, and an assessment of whether this is likely to have had material impact on the comprehensiveness and reliability of the report.

  22. In accordance with Requirement 4.6, the Netherlands should ensure that extractive company payments to subnational government entities and the receipt of these payments are disclosed, where material. The multi-stakeholder group is required to agree to a procedure to address data quality and assurance of information on subnational payments, in accordance with Requirement 4.9.

  23. In accordance with Requirement 6.1, the Netherlands should ensure public disclosures of all payments by extractive companies to the government related to the environment mandated by law, regulation or contract, where such payments are material. The Netherlands could consider extending its EITI reporting to indirect environmental taxes given the public interest in companies’ contributions related to the environment.

Strategic recommendations

The Netherlands is encouraged to consider the following recommendations to strengthen EITI implementation:

Transparency

  1. To strengthen implementation, the Netherlands is encouraged to work with relevant government entities to improve the accessibility of systematic disclosures related to the fiscal regime governing the extractive industries in accordance with Requirement 2.1, including fiscal incentives designed to support the energy transition to respond to public demand for information on the country’s transition to a net-zero emissions economy.

  2. To strengthen implementation, the Netherlands could consider using annual EITI reporting to provide information on the government’s environmental sanctioning of extractive companies, with a view to addressing public demands for information on the regulatory oversight of companies’ environmental impacts. The Netherlands is encouraged to consider the public disclosure of extractive companies’ contributions to environmental remediation and offset, given the level of public interest in the environmental impacts of the extractive industries.

  3. To strengthen implementation, the Netherlands could consider using its EITI reporting to compare figures on the financial relations between EBN and the state in different public documents such as the EITI Report and EBN’s audited financial statements with a view to explaining and contextualising any differences identified. The Netherlands is encouraged to describe the rules and practices related to EBN’s procurement, subcontracting and corporate governance, e.g. composition and appointment of the Board of Directors, Board’s mandate and code of conduct.

  4. To strengthen implementation, the Netherlands is encouraged to develop mechanisms for ensuring the systematic disclosure of comprehensive and reliable data on all financial transactions involving the SOE EBN, including revenues collected from oil and gas companies and payments to government.

  5. To strengthen implementation, the Netherlands could work to ensure that extractive commodity export volumes and values are published disaggregated by region, company, and project. The Netherlands could consider extending the scope of its EITI disclosures to export data involving imported extractive commodities, such as crude oil, that subsequently re-exported as part of the Netherlands’ role as a leading global extractive commodities physical trading hub.

  6. To strengthen implementation and improve the EITI data’s contribution to public debate, the Netherlands is encouraged to improve on the timeliness of EITI data disclosures, by building on existing systematic disclosures by companies and government.

  7. To strengthen implementation, the Netherlands could consider using EITI reporting to reference national and international revenue classification systems in its public disclosures of government revenues from the extractive industries.

  8. To strengthen implementation, the Netherlands may wish to use EITI reporting to describe any extractive revenues earmarked for specific programmes or geographic regions. The Netherlands may wish to consider using EITI implementation as a means of ensuring timely government disclosures that would further public understanding and debate around issues of revenue sustainability and resource dependence, including the assumptions underpinning forthcoming years in the budget cycle and relating to projected production, commodity prices and revenue forecasts arising from the extractive industries and the proportion of future fiscal revenues expected to come from the extractive sector.

The government and the MSG are encouraged to consider these recommendations, and to document the MSG’s responses to these recommendations in the next annual review of outcomes and impact of EITI implementation.

Scorecard for Netherlands: 2021

Assessment of EITI requirements

  • Not met
  • Partly met
  • Mostly met
  • Fully met
  • Exceeded
Component View more
Score

The three components of Validation each receive a score out of 100, as follows:

Low 0-49
Fairly low 50-69
Moderate 70-84
High 85-92
Very high 93-100
View more

Outcomes and impact

48 Low
Scorecard by requirement
Assessment
Assessment of EITI Requirements

Validation assesses the extent to which each EITI Requirement is met, using five categories. The component score is an average of the points awarded for each requirement that falls within the component.

Outcomes and impact

Effectiveness and sustainability indicators

0

1.5 Work plan

30

Like its predecessors, the NL-EITI 2021 work plan does not reflect national priorities or sectoral objectives for implementation, aside of a general “contribution to public debate”. Recommendations from reporting are not reflected. Different stakeholder needs do not seem to be reflected, and there is no evidence of consultations with the broader government, industry, and civil society constituencies. The work plan is not costed and doesn’t give an indication on the cost of implementation. No obstacles to implementation, nor ways to overcome them, are mentioned. Activities listed are mainly concerned with delivering the report, work plan and impact review, and steps to continue exploring mainstreaming.

7.1 Public debate

30

The two EITI Reports produced to date are available online. The report launch event for the 2017 Report in 2020 was cancelled due to Covid. There was no event carried out to promote the 2018 Report in 2021. There has been some outreach on the Report besides publishing the Report online. MSG members have contributed to disseminating the Report via their channels, primarily publishing press releases the EITI Report releases. Most stakeholders consulted were frank in their assessment that the objective of active communication of relevant data to key stakeholders in ways that are accessible and reflect stakeholders’ needs was not being fulfilled. Despite constraints from the Covid-19 pandemic, there is little evidence on stakeholders’ proactive dissemination of EITI findings and data.

7.2 Data accessibility and open data

60

The NL-EITI MSG has submitted the summary data templates for 2017 and 2018. An open data policy was recently adopted (June 2021). There is no evidence of efforts beyond plans to launch a new website by the end of 2021 to promote the data in the EITI Reports in open format.

7.3 Follow up on recommendations

60

Besides the table in the EITI Report with the status overview of previous recommendations, there is little evidence of the MSG following up on lessons learned from reporting beyond the inclusion of the IA’s list of recommendations from the latest report in the annual EITI progress report. There is no evidence of steps identified to follow-up on information gaps. The work plan does not refer to any activities that result from recommendations from the latest report. Stakeholders consulted explained that the process for follow-up on recommendations consisted of the National Coordinator following up with the MSG Chair, without a clear MSG mechanism for consistent follow-up on recommendations aside from ad hoc MSG discussions based on follow-up by the National Secretariat. However, the MSG’s comments on the draft assessment explained that the MSG discusses lessons learned each year, in particular when the annual progress report and the work plan for the new year are on the MSG’s agenda. The MSG points to the development of the new NL-EITI website and open data efforts as evidence of the MSG’s efforts to address information gaps. The MSG notes that it has focused on realistic targets given the limited resources available for implementation.

7.4 Review of outcomes and impact of implementation

60

The NL-EITI published an annual progress report, which closely follows the template provided in EITI guidance. While most technical parts of Requirement 7.4 are addressed, there is no evidence of the MSG’s consultation with the three broader constituencies in the annual review of outcomes and impact nor efforts to strengthen impacts of implementation other than the planned launch of a new website by the end of 2021. Stakeholders consulted did not express any strong views about whether the objective of ensuring regular public monitoring and evaluation of implementation, including evaluation of whether the EITI is delivering on its objectives, with a view to ensuring the EITI’s own public accountability was being fulfilled.

Stakeholder engagement

52.5 Fairly low
Scorecard by requirement
Assessment
Assessment of EITI Requirements

Validation assesses the extent to which each EITI Requirement is met, using five categories. The component score is an average of the points awarded for each requirement that falls within the component.

Multi-stakeholder oversight

1.1 Government engagement

60

There is little publicly available evidence of senior government officials making public expressions of support for the EITI since the government’s initial commitment to join the EITI in late 2015 and its acceptance as an EITI member in 2018. The NL-EITI MSG Chair until October 2018, Dirk-Jan Koch, made public statements of commitment to EITI (such as in 2018), but evidence of high-level government commitment to EITI since then has been limited to a government brief from Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate B. van 't Wout in January 2021 and a letter to Parliament by his immediate predecessor Eric Wiebes also in January 2021. The Ministries of Economic Affairs and Climate and of Foreign Affairs have issued regular decisions to establish the institutional framework for EITI and confirming the appointments to the MSG (most recently in 2019). One MSG member consulted noted that senior government officials did not appear aware of the Netherlands’ implementation of the EITI, although this was considered commensurate with the limited ambitions for the Netherlands’ EITI implementation. Two senior government officials, initially from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and subsequently from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, led EITI implementation as successive MSG Chairs from April 2017 to May 2019. Since then, an independent consultant with a background in government was appointed as MSG Chair in June 2019. Stakeholders consulted considered that the MSG Chairs had sufficient authority to overcome potential barriers to implementation and that the current MSG Chair, while independent from government, received sufficient access and resources from government. The national secretariat is hosted by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, which provides funding that is considered adequate to support implementation in its current format according to stakeholders consulted. Government representatives considered that additional funds could be requested from the Ministry to support specific additional activities, as had been the case in 2021 with the recruitment of a full-time communications specialist for the secretariat. The secretariat has limited capacity to support implementation given the one part-time (60%) national coordinator. Relevant government departments are represented on the MSG and appear to participate regularly, with engagement primarily driven by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, the Netherlands Tax and Customs Administration and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Stakeholders consulted however considered that government engagement was limited to the provision of data for EITI reporting rather than proactive engagement in all aspects of implementation. There is no institutional mechanism for intra-government consultations on EITI beyond quarterly MSG meetings. The MSG’s documentation in the ‘Stakeholder engagement’ template notes that consultations are held ‘if deemed necessary’, primarily through sharing of EITI developments to relevant Ministry of Foreign Affairs country desks and embassies. No evidence was provided of outreach to the broader constituency in the development of the annual work plan or reviews of outcomes and impact. The only examples of government participation in EITI outreach and dissemination provided were limited to government participation in a NL-EITI national event in March 2018. A government representative consulted considered that government commitment to EITI had declined since 2018, which had led to lower engagement from the other two constituencies given that government had driven the initial commitment to EITI. There was consensus among stakeholders consulted that the objective of ensuring a full, active and effective government lead for EITI implementation, both at high level and operationally, was not yet fulfilled, although most stakeholders considered that this was partly explained by the limited ambition of the NL-EITI work plan objective. In the context of a small relative contribution of the extractive industries to the economy set to decline over the medium term, the government’s limited engagement has nonetheless been sufficient to facilitate most aspects of EITI implementation given the narrow objectives. The Secretariat’s assessment is that the Netherlands has mostly met Requirement 1.1.

1.2 Industry engagement

60

The extractive industries are represented through three full seats and one alternate on the NL-EITI MSG through the industry association, the Netherlands Oil and Gas Exploration and Production Association (NOGEPA), and three oil and gas company member of the association. There is no representation within NL-EITI for non-NOGEPA member oil and gas companies nor salt mining companies, despite the fact that the first two NL-EITI Reports have included material non-member oil and gas companies and provided non-financial information on the salt mining sector. The oil and gas SOE, Energie Beheer Nederland (EBN), is not a member of the MSG but was appointed as an observer in January 2020. NOEGEPA includes 13 (of the 39) of the largest oil and gas companies operating in the Netherlands as members, and several companies considered material in the first two NL-EITI Reports are not members. The lack of MSG representation for salt mining companies could become problematic given the MSG’s decision to include the largest salt mining companies in the scope of reporting for the third (2019-2020) EITI Report. Several government representatives consulted noted that the decision to expand the scope of reporting to the largest salt mining companies had been driven by the industry constituency, given oil and gas companies’ desire to broaden the constituency and the fact that salt mining was part of the broader economic sector (of mining and quarrying). The constituency had also advocated to expand the scope of reporting to renewable energies such as wind power. Coordination of the constituency’s engagement in EITI has been delegated to a NOGEPA legal counsel that represents the association on the MSG. Issues for the industry’s consideration are raised on an ad hoc basis through NOGEPA’s Legal, Communications and Executive Committees as well as its Working Group on Fiscal Matters. The Executive Committee decides on MSG representation for the industry constituency at one of its quarterly meetings. Industry participates regularly at MSG meetings, with engagement driven by representatives from NOGEPA, Shell and NAM. However, there is little evidence of industry engagement in all aspects of implementation beyond participation in MSG meetings and provision of data for EITI reporting. Members of the association review drafts of the EITI Report annually prior to publication, but the constituency notes that only ‘major issues’ in the annual work plan are discussed by the association’s various committees. The Executive Committee discussed the 2021 NL-EITI work plan (after publication) for the first time at its June 2021 meeting. Members of NOGEPA attended the March 2018 NL-EITI National Event and the EITI Reports are published on the NOGEPA website, with two companies issuing press releases on the publication of the first (2017) EITI Report in January 2020. There is no evidence of use of EITI data by industry beyond the use of EITI Reports for NOGEPA’s internal training purposes. The level of company participation in EITI reporting has gradually improved from 15 companies in 2017 to 17 in 2018. However, given the voluntary-based approach to selecting oil and gas companies that are not NOGEPA members and the lack of statement in either EITI Report concerning the comprehensiveness of the reconciled financial disclosures, it is unclear whether all companies making material payments to government participated (see Requirement 4.1). MSG members consulted noted that Dutch-domiciled companies’ mandatory payments to government reports had not been reviewed as a means of ensuring that EITI disclosures were comprehensive of all material payments to government. The MSG has implemented a system of waivers for taxpayer confidentiality provisions (under General Law on State Tax Article 67 - AWR), although oil and gas companies that are not NOGEPA members are given the discretion to decide whether to participate. There is no evidence that the MSG has explored the scope for the government to make EITI reporting mandatory for oil and gas companies. While the industry constituency does not consider that there are any barriers to companies’ participation in EITI implementation, there is no evidence of outreach by NOGEPA to oil and gas companies that are not members. Industry stakeholders consulted considered it the responsibility of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy to coordinate with non-NOGEPA oil and gas companies, as the sector regulator. While the MSG’s comments on the draft assessment argued that the reconciliation covered 95% of government extractive revenues in 2018, it appears that extractive companies making material payments to government in 2018 (i.e. above EUR 100,000) were not included in the scope of the reconciliation, and that they did not provide taxpayer confidentiality waivers for the purposes of EITI reporting. Stakeholders consulted did not express any particular views on whether the objective of full, active and effective engagement by extractive companies in the EITI, both in terms of disclosures and participation in the MSG’s work, had been fulfilled although they considered that there was an enabling environment for company participation. The Secretariat’s assessment is that there are weaknesses in technical aspects of the requirement, including lack of coordination mechanisms with the broader constituency, lack of comprehensive company participation in reporting, a lack of proactive participation in outreach and dissemination as well as insufficient efforts to establish a consistent approach for overcoming taxpayer confidentiality barriers. Balancing these gaps against the limited aspirations for EITI implementation and the industry’s engagement in broadening the scope of EITI reporting to renewables as an issue of greater public interest, the Secretariat’s assessment is that the objective of Requirement 1.2 has been mostly met.

1.3 Civil society engagement

60

Evidence and stakeholder consultations indicate that a narrow group of (three) civil society organisations (CSOs) are involved in EITI implementation (Transparency International Netherlands, the Netherlands Trade Union Federation (FNV) and Open State Foundation). While a group of 12 CSOs were consulted in 2016 and 2019 to canvass interest in establishing a mechanism for constituency coordination, there has never been sufficient interest in NL-EITI objectives to move beyond ad hoc (at most annual) consultations with specific organisations. Stakeholder consultations explained that most of the 12 CSOs consulted have primarily an international focus in their extractives work and did not view domestic extractive industry transparency as a priority. Environmentally focused CSOs such as Greenpeace, MilieuDefensie and Waddenvereniging were said not to identify alignment of the EITI with their priorities within the Netherlands. Ad hoc CSO coordination on EITI issues has been limited to a consultation on the draft of the first (2017) NL-EITI Report via email and at a meeting hosted by Tax Justice Netherlands, as well as CSO participation in the March 2018 National Event organised by the MSG to launch EITI implementation. There is no documented evidence of the civil society MSG members’ outreach to the broader constituency to gather input in the development of the annual EITI work plan or review of outcomes and impact, although stakeholder consultations indicated that email outreach by MSG members had not resulted in any input due to the lack of interest in EITI from CSOs not represented on the MSG. The three civil society MSG members were nominated in March 2016 in an informal process that resulted in the only three CSOs demonstrating some interest in EITI being selected. Stakeholders consulted from government and civil society explained that it had been a challenge to fill the MSG seats allocated to civil society both in 2016 and in 2019. Civil society members from the constituency participate regularly in MSG meetings. The focus of civil society input to MSG deliberations has been primarily on the issue of project-level reporting, with calls to ensure disaggregation of all payments to government by project regardless of the basis for calculations of taxes and levies (e.g. including for taxes levied at a consolidated company or group level) (see Requirement 4.7). The three CSO MSG members’ organisations have issued press releases on the publication of the two NL-EITI Reports to date, although there is scant evidence of civil society’s use of EITI data or contribution to outreach and dissemination beyond these limited efforts. There is no evidence of any barriers to civil society participation or input to the EITI process related to freedom of association, expression, operation, or access to public decision-making. There was consensus among stakeholders consulted that there had been no attempt by actors outside civil society to influence the constituency’s EITI-related activities, including MSG nominations. Stakeholders consulted did not express any particular views on whether the objective of full, active and effective engagement by civil society in the EITI had been fulfilled although they considered that there was an enabling environment for civil society participation in the EITI. The Secretariat’s assessment is that there are weaknesses in technical aspects of the requirement, including lack of coordination mechanisms with the broader constituency and a lack of engagement in all aspects of implementation including outreach and dissemination of EITI findings. Balancing these gaps against the limited MSG aspirations for EITI implementation and civil society’s engagement on technical disclosure issues such as project-level reporting, the Secretariat’s assessment is that the objective of Requirement 1.3 has been mostly met.

1.4 MSG governance

30

The MSG was constituted in October 2017 ahead of the Netherlands’ EITI candidature application, with renewal of members on an ad hoc basis due to changes in positions. The same organisations have been represented on the MSG since the start. The process for identifying the organisations to be members of the MSG was based on consultations between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, of Economic Affairs and of Finance, NOGEPA and civil society organisations. There are no codified constituency nomination procedures for MSG seats, with the MSG’s ToR (Section 4) simply noting that constituencies’ nominations to the MSG must be in accordance with EITI Requirement 1.4.a and confirmed by decision of the Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation and the Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy. Appointment of MSG members is for a period of three years, renewable once, with ministerial decisions confirming these appointments in October 2017 and July 2019. In practice, the Ministries of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, of Foreign Affairs and the Netherlands Tax and Customs Administration (NCTA) appoint their full and alternate MSG members following changes of position. The oil and gas industry association, NOGEPA, decides the constituency’s three full and one alternate MSG members through its Executive Committee. The civil society constituency originally appointed its members three full and three alternate MSG members in a meeting of 12 CSOs, which were consulted again in 2019 before the same organisations were selected to remain on the MSG. Stakeholders from all constituencies noted the challenges in identifying individuals interested in participating in the MSG and explained that the selected individuals tended to be the ones that did not refuse. Despite the lack of public constituency nominations procedures, the Secretariat’s assessment is that MSG members have been appointed on the basis of open, fair and transparent constituency procedures and that the procedural gap is due to insufficient engagement by the three constituencies (see Requirements 1.1-1.3). The MSG appears to be functioning in an equitable manner, in accordance with the MSG’s ToR. The ToR, modelled on the UKEITI MSG’s, were approved at the NL-EITI MSG’s fifth meeting in February 2018 and revised in December 2020 to reflect changes in the 2019 EITI Standard. Meeting minutes indicate that the MSG has approved its own ToR on each occasion. The MSG’s ToR are consistent with all aspects of Requirement 1.4.b. While there appear to have been no deviations from the ToR in the 2017-2021 period, with all MSG decisions taken by consensus, electronic consultations with each of the broader constituencies has only elicited limited input (see Requirements 1.1-1.3). Consultations with MSG members from all constituencies indicated a lack of understanding of MSG members’ responsibility for liaising with their broader respective constituencies, which is a concern. Attendance of most MSG members is consistent. Minutes of meetings are published on the NL-EITI website (although minutes of meetings prior to the MSG’s June 2019 decision to operate under Chatham House rules have been taken down) and meetings are scheduled with sufficient advance notice, with documents circulated sufficiently ahead of time. The MSG establishes temporary working groups to work on specific topics in accordance with its ToR (Section 6), with a total of ten such ‘sub-groups’ established in the 2018-2020 period, with only two operational in 2021 (on communications and Validation). There is no practice of per diem, as confirmed in the candidature application, the MSG’s ToR and stakeholder consultations. Stakeholders consulted did not express any particular opinion on whether the objective of ensuring an independent MSG that can exercise active and meaningful oversight of all aspects of EITI implementation that balances the three main constituencies’ interests in a consensual manner had been achieved. The Secretariat’s assessment is that Requirement 1.4 is partly met given the lack of sufficient efforts by MSG members to liaise with their respective constituencies on EITI-related issues and effective outreach to their respective constituencies.

Transparency

67.5 Fairly low
Scorecard by requirement
Assessment
Assessment of EITI Requirements

Validation assesses the extent to which each EITI Requirement is met, using five categories. The component score is an average of the points awarded for each requirement that falls within the component.

Overview of the extractive industries

3.1 Exploration data

100

The Netherlands has exceeded the requirement’s objective of ensuring public access to an overview of the extractive sector in the country through systematic disclosures of information on the extractive sector and its potential, including recent, ongoing, and planned significant exploration activities. The Netherlands systematically discloses all relevant data through the government’s Annual Review of Natural Resources and Geothermal Energy report, including data on reserves, exploration and extractive activities for petroleum, coal, rock salt and geothermal sectors. The Netherlands has publicly disclosed through its EITI Reports a comprehensive overview of the extractive industries, including significant exploration activities, which maps out available data systematically disclosed through the NLOG website.

6.3 Contribution of the extractive sector to the economy

60

The Netherlands has mostly met the objective of ensuring a public understanding of the extractive industries’ contribution to the national economy and the level of natural resource dependency in the economy. While most indicators appear readily and timely available through the Central Bureau of Statistic's portal, it appears that some data points do not refer to the extractive sector as a whole, rather focuses solely on natural gas. This appears to be the case for government revenues, and contribution to exports (the latter does not provide a source or explanation of the estimate). Other official estimates by the Central Statistics Bureau appear to be less than the estimate included in the Transparency template, and estimates of government revenues from extractive sectors other than natural gas do not appear to be publicly accessible.

Legal and fiscal framework

2.1 Legal framework

90

The NL-EITI Report 2018 describes the legal environment and fiscal regime for mining, oil and gas, including the roles of government entities, the level of fiscal devolution and reforms up to 2018. Government websites provide much of the information required although the fiscal regime and degree of fiscal devolution do not appear to be disclosed systematically on government websites referenced. Aside from the fiscal regime and level of fiscal devolution, all other aspects of the regulatory framework are systematically disclosed and documented in EITI reporting, supporting the assessment that the Netherlands has fully met, but not yet exceeded, the objective of Requirement 2.1.

2.4 Contracts

30

The Netherlands have partly met the objective of this requirement to ensure the public accessibility of all licenses underpinning extractive activities. The full text of oil, gas, and mining licenses is provided through systematic disclosure in publications of the Official Gazette and the EITI Report clarifies government policy in favour of disclosing the full text of all licenses. However, it is unclear whether there are any contracts in the oil and gas sector, given the lack of clarity over whether EBN's "cooperation agreements" constitute contracts governing the exploitation of natural resources in accordance with the definition of "contracts" in Requirement 2.4.d. In addition, there is insufficient guidance from NL-EITI on where to locate the full text of mining, oil and gas licenses awarded since 1 January 2021. There does not appear to be a comprehensive list of all mining, oil and gas licenses (including those awarded prior to 1 January 2021), clearly indicating which ones are publicly accessible in accordance with Requirement 2.4.c.ii.

6.4 Environmental impact

Not assessed

The Netherlands systematically discloses information on the legal provisions and administrative rules related to environmental management and monitoring of extractive investments in the country, including on environmental impact assessments and licences granted to oil, gas and mining companies, and on the roles and responsibilities of relevant government agencies. While the Commission on Environmental Impact Assessment website provides information on completed assessments and ongoing consultations, there is little further information on actual practice related to environmental management and monitoring of extractive investments in the country on government websites, such as for instance extractive companies’ contributions to environmental remediation. While government websites such as NLOG provide information on environmental impacts of mining, oil and gas and efforts to transition to more environmentally sustainable extractive industries, there does not appear to be comprehensive information on regular environmental monitoring procedures, administrative and sanctioning processes of governments, as well as environmental liabilities, environmental rehabilitation and remediation programmes. The 2018 NL-EITI Report provides only a cursory overview of government agencies’ responsibilities for granting of environmental licenses and monitoring the environmental impact of extractive activities. Therefore, the Netherlands has not fully met the objective of Requirement 6.4, which remains ‘not assessed’ given that this requirement is an encouraged aspect of the EITI Standard.

Licenses

2.2 Contract and license allocations

60

The Netherlands systematically discloses information on the award of mining, oil and gas licenses, including the identity of licenses awarded, the process for awarding and transferring licenses, including technical criteria and financial criteria for oil and gas licenses but only technical (not financial) criteria for mining licenses. However, the identity of licenses transferred in 2018 is unclear, as are the technical and financial criteria assessed in transfers. There is no evidence of the MSG's assessment of non-trivial deviations in mining, oil and gas license awards and transfers in 2018. Mining, oil and gas licenses do not appear to be awards through competitive tender. Therefore, the Netherlands has mostly met this requirement.

2.3 Register of licenses

60

The Netherlands systematically discloses information on mining, oil and gas licenses through the NLOG website and data centre, including data on the license holder’s name, commodity(ies) covered and coordinates, for all active licenses irrespective of the materiality of payments associated with each license. While the dates of award appear to be provided for all active licenses, it is unclear where the dates of application and expiry are available for all mining, oil and gas licenses. Therefore, the Netherlands has mostly met this requirement.

Ownership

2.5 Beneficial ownership

60

The Netherlands has enacted legislation to establish a publicly accessible ultimate beneficial ownership (UBO) registry. It will apply to all companies that apply for or hold a participating interest in exploration or production mining, oil and gas licenses. Regulations implementing the act will only come into force in March 2022. The register will be maintained by the Dutch Chamber of Commerce. To date, beneficial ownership information has been requested from some, but not yet all, corporate entities that apply for or hold participating interests in mining, oil and gas exploration or production licenses. Following full enforcement of the UBO regulations in March 2022, it is expected that the requisite information will be available. However, this will need to be verified, including the coverage of legal ownership (available through other sources) and the coverage of politically exposed persons. The MSG has only clarified to date that legal ownership information on only some companies (private limited companies (BVs), not public companies (NVs)) is currently accessible to the public.

State participation

2.6 State participation

90

The 2018 EITI Report adequately explains the role of the sole SOE in the extractive sector, EBN, including how EBN operates in a contractual collaboration without being a license holder or operator. The report also describes the rules and practices governing retained earnings, reinvestment, fund transfers (including dividends), and third-party financing. Concerning fund transfers between the state and the SOE and third-party financing, the EITI Report does not clarify whether government transfers to EBN are applicable for exploration, drilling, and transportation phases of the oil and gas value chain, or only for production, and whether sovereign guarantees are granted to loans contracted by EBN. In its comments on the draft assessment, the MSG clarified that EBN was not entitled to receive any government transfers for exploration, drilling and transportation phases nor for production, and that it does not benefit from a sovereign guarantee for any of its debt. The 2018 EITI Report explains that the SOE does not hold equity in other extractive companies and confirms the lack of loans from EBN to extractive companies. EBN's group-level audited financial statements are publicly disclosed. While the cooperation agreements between EBN and the oil and gas companies are not publicly available, the 2018 EITI Report specifies that the participating interests of EBN in oil and gas projects may vary between 40 and 50% and Appendix 5 lists each oil and gas project in which EBN participates, including the level of participation for each of them and the terms attached to EBN’s participating interest in each project. The EITI Report explains in general terms that costs of exploration and production are covered by the co-licence holders and that EBN covers its share of expenditures in line with its participating interest, which EBN finances through borrowings from external lenders. A stakeholder consulted confirmed that EBN always covered its share of costs in line with its participating interest in each project. The report confirms that EBN does not receive any subsidy or other contributions from the government for its participation in oil and gas projects.

4.2 In-kind revenues

60

The MSG references the ToR IA and the minutes of particular MSG meetings to validate their assessment that Requirement 4.2 is not applicable. However, in its comments on the draft assessment, the MSG confirmed that EBN receives gas produced from the smaller fields in kind and sells this to GasTerra, referencing the relevant sections of the 2018 EITI Report (pp.39-40). While the 2018 EITI Report provides disclosures of the proceeds of EBN’s sales of natural gas to GasTerra that are transferred to the state, it does not provide the volumes of in-kind natural gas collected by EBN and the volumes sold by EBN to GasTerra.

4.5 SOE transactions

90

The MSG does well to lay out the relationship between the sole SOE, EBN, and the State as well as describing the interaction between EBN and independent extractive companies operating in the country. Although the 2018 EITI Report details the payments from extractive companies to EBN (hydrocarbons sales, pipeline fees and gas storage fees) they are disaggregated only by companies, not by revenue streams. In terms of revenues received by the government from EBN, both 2018 EITI Report and the 2018 annual report of EBN disclose the dividends payment for the year under review (although there are discrepancies between the two sources).

6.2 SOE quasi-fiscal expenditures

Not applicable

The 2018 EITI Report indicates that no quasi-fiscal expenditures outside the national budget are incurred by the SOE, albeit without any justification of the basis of the MSG’s assessment. There is no evidence in MSG meeting minutes on the topic of quasi-fiscal expenditures, nor in the scoping study for the Netherlands’ EITI reporting. Given some consulted stakeholders’ concern over EBN expenditures, the objective of accountability in the management of extractive-funded expenditures by EBN on behalf of the government, if applicable, may not yet be fulfilled. In its comments on the draft assessment however, the MSG confirmed the lack of quasi-fiscal expenditures undertaken by EBN, with reference to the SOE’s annual report.

Production and exports

3.2 Production data

60

The Netherlands has mostly met the objective of ensuring public understanding of extractive commodity(ies) production levels, as a basis for addressing production-related issues in the extractive industries. Volumes for mining, oil, and gas commodities are systematically disclosed as well as mentioned in the NL-EITI Report. However, NL-EITI has not provided production values for any of the corresponding volumes listed and there does not appear to have been any effort to provide estimates of these production values in the place of actual values. Project-level disclosures of oil and gas production volumes is systematically disclosed through the NLOG annual reviews for the main projects in the country.

3.3 Export data

90

The Netherlands has fully met the objective of ensuring public understanding of extractive commodity(ies) export levels and the valuation of extractive commodity exports. Export data for extractive commodities is systematically disclosed on government websites such as the CBS Statline portal and referenced in the NL-EITI Report. The Secretariat understands that the Netherlands does not export unprocessed salt.

Revenue collection

4.1 Comprehensiveness

60

The Netherlands has mostly met the objective of ensuring comprehensive disclosures of company payments and government revenues from oil, gas, and mining as the basis for detailed public understanding of the contribution of the extractive industries to government revenues. The MSG has described the existing revenue streams in the extractive industries. Materiality thresholds are well described to ensure a clear methodology for setting the scope of reconciliation. However, legal taxpayer confidentiality constraints prevent government publication of tax revenues from individual companies, which creates a substantial barrier for full government disclosure of extractive revenues. It is not clear whether all extractive companies have fully disclosed payments and revenues, nor whether the government has fully reported all revenues received from all extractive companies by individual revenue stream. Several stakeholders consulted confirmed that several companies making material payments to government in 2018 had either not agreed to sign taxpayer confidentiality waivers (and thus were not even mentioned in the EITI Report) or had not participated in EITI reporting despite signing such waivers. Stakeholders confirmed that there was no ex-post verification of whether any material revenue stream or extractive company was omitted from the reconciliation exercise, nor were such confirmation sought from external sources such as the Payments to Government reports that extractive companies in the Netherlands are subject to in accordance with the country’s implementation of the EU Accounting and Transparency Directives. The lack of such publicly documented confirmation of the adequacy of the scope of the reconciliation casts doubt on its comprehensiveness.

4.3 Infrastructure provisions and barter arrangements

60

The Netherlands has mostly met the objective of ensuring public understanding of infrastructure provisions and barter-type arrangements, commensurate with other cash-based company payments and government revenues from oil, gas and mining. The MSG’s Validation templates consider that Requirement 4.3 is not applicable in the period under review, with reference to the IA’s ToR and MSG meeting minutes. However, review of relevant MSG meeting minutes do not provide sufficient evidence to justify the MSG’s conclusion that Requirement 4.3 is not applicable given the lack of description of the MSG’s approach to assessing the existence of infrastructure provisions and barter-type arrangements.

4.4 Transportation revenues

60

The Netherlands has mostly met the objective of ensuring transparency in government and SOE revenues from the transit of oil, gas and minerals as a basis for promoting greater accountability in extractive commodity transportation arrangements involving the state or SOEs. The EITI Report includes midstream (gas transportation) companies in the scope of reconciliation (see Requirement 4.1). However, the report does not identify EBN's specific share of the proceeds from transportation services provided by companies in which it holds equity interests. The report indicates that EUR 2.74 billion were received for hydrocarbon sales, pipeline fees, and gas storage fees, but the specific value of EBN's share of transportation revenues is not provided. While there is insufficient publicly accessible information on whether transportation revenues were above the materiality EUR 100,000 threshold for selecting revenue streams, the MSG appears to consider these material given that it has included transportation companies in the scope of reconciliation.

4.7 Level of disaggregation

60

The Netherlands has mostly met the objective of this requirement to ensure disaggregation in public disclosures of company payments and government revenues from oil, gas and mining that enables the public to assess the extent to which the government can monitor its revenue receipts as defined by its legal and fiscal framework. The Netherlands has identified what constitutes a project in the national context, though some outstanding questions remain related to the context of pre-1965 licenses and post 1965-licenses. It is unclear whether these licenses are substantially interconnected or subject to overarching legal agreements between the state and private companies. Additionally, there appears to be contradictory information in the public domain on whether certain payment types are indeed levied on a per project, per company or per fiscal unity basis. The explanations of the 2018 EITI Report (Table 6) suggest that the payments are levied on individual production licenses (profit share), on specific concessions (state share), or on each license in which EBN holds a participating interest (state participation). However, the 2018 EITI Report concludes that all of these payment types are levied at entity or fiscal unit levels. Three of the four revenue streams that the MSG categorises as being levied on a per project basis are disclosed disaggregated by project, while the fourth (a new revenue stream established in 2018, ‘retribution’) is not, although stakeholders consulted noted that this was being addressed in the 2019-2020 EITI Report. Lastly, receipts of EBN from proceeds of subsidiaries and other revenues collected from affiliated companies do not appear to be disaggregated by individual revenue stream.

4.8 Data timeliness

90

The Netherlands has fully met the objective of ensuring that public disclosures of company payments and government revenues from oil, gas and mining are sufficiently timely to be relevant to inform public debate and policy making. While data for 2018 was not published ahead of the 31 December 2020 deadline, the EITI Board granted the country an extension of the deadline due to the exceptional circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus, 2018 EITI reporting is considered sufficiently timely to meet Requirement 4.8. The MSG appears to be exploring ways to improve the timeliness of EITI disclosures, although it has not yet agreed a clear path for improving timeliness of Netherlands’ revenues from the extractive sector. The Netherlands, while meeting the requirements of data timeliness, remains the only European EITI implementing country that does not publish data well in advance of its reporting deadlines.

4.9 Data quality and assurance

60

The Netherlands has mostly met the objective of ensuring that appropriate measures have been taken to ensure the reliability of disclosures of company payments and government revenues from oil, gas and mining. The aim is for the EITI to contribute to strengthening routine government and company audit and assurance systems and practices and ensure that stakeholders can have confidence in the reliability of the financial data on payments and revenues. The MSG used the standard TOR for IAs to ensure that a consultant, reporting on only EITI Requirements 4.1 to 4.9, was mandated to follow the EITI Board's standard procedures. These procedures appear to have largely been followed in practice, albeit with some important gaps. Firstly, neither the IA nor the MSG has formed an explicit opinion on the comprehensiveness or reliability of financial data included in Netherlands' 2018 EITI Report, which is mandated by the IA’s TOR agreed by the MSG. Secondly, there does not appear to be an overview of specific company and government audit practices in 2018 available in the public domain. Lastly, the precise additional assurances demanded from reporting entities were not clearly described in the EITI Report itself (i.e., whether quality assurances for EITI reporting consisted of management attestation or any other element). The lack of provision of the agreed quality assurances by an important government agency (EZK) raises questions over the reliability of reconciled financial data, given that EZK collected more than 60% of government extractive revenues. While no stakeholder consulted implied there were concerns related to data reliability, these form important steps for users of EITI data to ascertain the level of reliability and completeness of financial data.

Revenue management

5.1 Distribution of revenues

90

The 2018 NL-EITI Report states that all extractive revenues are recorded in the national budget. The MSG has not referenced any public source documenting national revenue classifications of extractive revenues nor assessed the alignment of national and international revenue classifications for such government revenues. Thus, the Secretariat’s assessment is that Requirement 5.1 is fully met but not yet exceeded given that encouraged aspects of the requirement have not yet been addressed by NL-EITI.

5.3 Revenue management and expenditures

Not assessed

The Netherlands systematically discloses some information on revenue management and expenditures, including a general overview of the budget and audit processes, but not on any earmarked extractive revenues nor on assumptions and projections underpinning budget planning. Therefore, the Secretariat's assessment is that the objective of the requirement has not yet been fully met.

Subnational contributions

4.6 Subnational payments

30

The Netherlands does not appear to have made tangible progress in ensuring comprehensive and reliable disclosures of direct subnational payments. Although the MSG considers this requirement 'not applicable' in the Validation template, there is no publicly available evidence of the MSG's consideration of the materiality of direct subnational payments. Nonetheless, Appendix 4 of the 2018 EITI Report describes both payments to provinces and to municipalities that are required of extractive companies, although it is unclear whether these are levied from both mining as well as from oil and gas companies. In its comments on the draft assessment, the MSG argued that it had undertaken some work on direct subnational payments but that they had not been included in the scope of reconciliation because of the materiality and the “disproportionate burden” this would put on the many provinces, municipalities and water boards. While data on the value of direct subnational payments by extractive companies in 2018 does not appear to be publicly accessible to support the MSG’s assessment that these payments are not material, the MSG’s comments noted that the 2019-2020 EITI Report would include unilateral disclosure by extractive companies of their direct subnational payments, even if this report has not yet been published.

5.2 Subnational transfers

Not applicable

There are no transfers between national and subnational government entities related to revenues generated by the extractive industries in the Netherlands, as confirmed in NL-EITI reporting. This requirement is therefore not applicable in the Netherlands in the period under review.

6.1 Social and environmental expenditures

60

The MSG has demonstrated that there are no mandatory social expenditures paid by extractive companies in the Netherlands. While the MSG argues that the only environmental taxes (energy tax and surcharge for renewable energy (ODE)) paid by oil and gas companies on their self-generated electricity is below the materiality threshold for selecting revenue streams, the figures for environmental payments (energy tax and ODE) by extractive companies in the 2018 EITI Report appear to indicate that both of these revenue streams were material in 2018, i.e., above the EUR 100,000 threshold for selecting material revenue streams for reconciliation.

Countries
Netherlands