Commodity trading

One of the key objectives of the EITI is to shed light on the return that a country gets in exchange for its oil, gas and minerals.

In many resource-rich countries, payments by companies to the government for rights to extract resources happen in-kind, through physical transfers of oil, gas and minerals, rather than transfers of money. Physical revenues can also occur because the state or a state-owned enterprise (SOE) owns shares in a producing license.

The state or the SOE then sells these physical resources, often to trading companies or domestic refineries. In order for governments implementing the EITI to fully account for all revenues received from natural resources, it is therefore necessary to know how much revenue the state or SOE gets from the sales of these resources as well as whether these sale proceeds are transferred to the budget.  

How the EITI Standard covers commodity trading

EITI Requirement 4.2 aims to ensure transparency in how governments are selling oil, gas and minerals: 

“Where the sale of the state’s share of production or other revenues collected in-kind is material, the government, including state owned enterprises, are required to disclose the volumes sold and revenues received.”

According to this requirement, an SOE or other government agency in charge of marketing the state’s oil, gas and minerals must fully disclose the revenues that it collects from sales of such resources. This includes exports sales as well as sales to domestic buyers and refineries, and any other actors. This typically means that SOEs will disclose the volumes of commodities sold and the revenues received, broken down by buyer. In some countries, like Iraq, the buyers of the oil from the government also disclose how much they pay to the government, allowing for reconciliation of these figures. 

EITI Requirement 4.2 also suggests further disclosures, notably “the type of product, price, market and sale volume”. 

Targeted effort on commodity trading transparency

Implementation of this requirement has been particularly challenging for many EITI member countries. In June 2016, the EITI Board agreed to a targeted effort to increase transparency in commodity trading.

The objective is to assist implementing countries with significant commodity trading activities in identify and consider innovative mechanisms to increase transparency in revenues received from the commodity sales. This includes both implementation of EITI Requirement 4.2 as well as information on the allocations of rights to buy/trade in-kind revenues, sales contracts and revenue management.  

Several EITI countries are part of the targeted effort to further transparency in commodity trade:

Albania

Albania’s 2015 EITI Report, published in March 2017, disclosed new information on how commodity trading works in Albania, notably:

  • The type of oil production that Albpetrol, the SOE, sells on behalf of the State. Albpetrol receives profit share in-kind from licensees in exchange for their rights to produce oil, as well as equity oil as a return on investments from the projects that Albetrol has decided to participate in. The commodity sales report covers both types of oil and estimates how much of what is sold is equity oil – about 29% - as opposed to profit share.
  • Volumes of oil sold and revenue received, including quantities forecasted to be traded under the contract - 100k tons in 2015 - as well as actual quantities sold during FY 2015, notably 85k tons. The actual sales values and price are disaggregated by month.
  • Information about the process for selecting buyers, including an overview of how auctions are conducted. A summary of the auctions in 2013, 2014 and 2015 are disclosed, including the forecasted sales volume of the annual contract, the auction starting price, the winning bid, the name of the company winning the bid, the name of non-winning applicants and links to further information.
  • Explanation of the pricing system. The auction start price is set with reference to Brent oil prices through a formula that considers quality of oil to be delivered, access to international markets etc. The price includes adjustments for the transport costs in consideration to the delivery point.
  • Transfer and expenditure of oil sale proceeds. According to the report, it seems like Albpetrol retains the revenue from both the sale of profit oil and the sale of equity oil. 

Chad

Chad recently confirmed its official participation in the targeted effort, and is considering reporting on the long-term agreement between the Government of Chad and Glencore that includes a USD 1.2 billion oil-backed loan to the government. A national working group has been established to prepared reporting templates. 

Ghana

Ghana's national oil company GNPC represents the country’s interest in the oil sector by engaging in exploration, development, production, and disposal of hydrocarbon resources on behalf of the state. GNPC sells its production share and royalties collected in-kind from other companies on behalf of the state to commodity trading companies. Ghana committed to participate in EITI's targeted efforts to improve commodity trading transparency during the Anti-Corruption Summit in London (May 2016), and GHEITI has prepared a programme for their work on commodity trading transparency outlining the following objectives:

GHEITI’s commodity trading work programme, which is likely to be updated in June, outlines the following objectives:

  1. Gain a good understanding of the mandate of the government agency or SOE in selling commodities on behalf of the state or the private sector players in mining;
  2. Identify the key actors and transactions involved in commodity trading for mining and oil/gas;
  3. Develop a framework for disclosure of timely and reliable information on the private sector players involved in commodity sales or sales of “in-kind” revenues by SOEs;
  4. Ensure adequate reporting in accordance with the EITI Standard.

A commodity trading report is expected in October 2017.

Indonesia

In Indonesia, commodity trading occurs through Pertamina, the sole SOE in Indonesia’s oil and gas sector. Other contractors are likewise authorised under their Production Sharing Contracts (PSCs) with SKK Migas, the oil and gas regulator, to sell commodities on behalf of the government. Pertamina’s downstream activities include oil and gas refining and managing the distribution and marketing of the refined products. PSC holders deliver the government’s share in oil lifting and Domestic Market Obligation (DMO) to Pertamina’s domestic refineries. Pertamina then transfers payments to the treasury.   

On 1 January 2015, Pertamina started conducting its import and sales (export) activity of crude oil and refined products through the Integrated Supply Chain (ISC). The procurement and sales are done either through direct negotiation or closed tender to business partners that are registered with Pertamina.  ISC is also in charge of selling crude oil from Pertamina’s upstream entitlements. These activities are regulated by SKK Migas which controls Pertamina’s operations. 

Indonesia’s latest EITI Report describes in general terms how trading is conducted. However, in view of the relevance of commodity trading in Indonesia’s oil and gas sector, Indonesia has agreed on the following objectives for its participation in the targeted effort on commodity trading transparency:

  1. Understand the entire value chain from production to trading and evaluate gaps in policies;
  2. Gain comprehension regarding factors influencing domestic oil pricing, in particular, how the Indonesia Crude Price (ICP)  is determined, and provide recommendations to government policies related to pricing;
  3. Understand Pertamina-ISC’s tendering processes, i.e., how it evaluates applications from traders, and to see how the new system under ISC compares with the system under Petral;
  4. Complement ISC’s efforts in making their operations transparent; and
  5. Address negative allegations against Pertamina and provide an opportunity to rebuild their reputation as an SOE.

The commodity trading report is expected in August 2017.

Nigeria

Nigeria EITI (NEITI) has produced seven oil & gas audits disclosing details of ‘first trades’ by NNPC, the Nigerian SOE. NEITI reports typically include records of cargo-by-cargo lifting of crude oil, bill of lading date, trading company, crude type, quantity lifted, unit price, crude value, L/C number, pricing option adopted, API  and destination. In the 2013 Oil and Gas Audit, NEITI took it a step further and wrote to the trading companies requesting for trading data/information in order to reconcile the records between the trading parties. Presently, Nigerian SOE (NNPC) publishes production, lifting and sales values in aggregates but does not disclose details on off-takers and the beneficial owners operating in commodity trading.

Through its participation in the targeted effort, NEITI aims to conduct an in-depth study that will strengthen transparency and accountability in Nigeria’s commodity trading. As such, the commodity trading report will aim to:

  1. Disclose the identity of the beneficial owners of commodity traders operating in the Nigerian Oil & gas sector.
  2. Develop a well-defined framework and suitable methodology for mainstreaming commodity trading reporting in the Nigerian Oil & gas sector
  3. Design a detailed framework and structure for commodity trading reporting in accordance with the EITI requirements.

Mauritania

Despite the Chinguetti oilfield’s closure in March 2017, Mauritania will include commodity sales disclosures in its 2015 EITI Report as a means of setting a standard for disclosures for future LNG production. The Treasury already publishes monthly reports on the state's sales of in-kind oil revenues, but the 2015 EITI Report will explain the operations of the Chinguetti partners' pricing committee, biennial procurement of the marketing agent and sales of quarterly cargos. Additional information including product type, price, market and sales volumes will also be disclosed. 

A working group has been established to support the targeted effort, consisting of international trading companies, NGOs, and SOE representatives.

In May 2017, the working group issued guidance on “first trade” reporting of crude oil sales. The guidance has three intended audiences: first, the EITI MSGs in implementing countries that will determine their respective country’s approach to reporting in this area; second the governments and SOEs that sell commodities, which can opt to directly disclose further information about these transactions; and third, buying companies who can use the guidance to inform their own reporting, or draw on it to achieve compliance with EITI MSG set reporting requirements in EITI implementing countries where they execute sales.