The identity of the real owners – the ‘beneficial owners’ – of the companies that have obtained rights to extract oil, gas and minerals is often unknown, hidden by a chain of unaccountable corporate entities. This problem affects other sectors and often helps to feed corruption and tax evasion. People who live in resource rich countries are at particular risk of losing out as extractive assets are too often misallocated for corrupt reasons.
By 2020, all implementing countries have to ensure that all oil, gas and mining companies that bid for, operate or invest in extractive projects in their countries disclose their real owners.
This should include the identity of the owner, i.e. the name, nationality and country of residence. Countries are also encouraged to ask companies to provide further details such as the date of birth, national identity number, residential address etc.
Any politically exposed persons holding ownership rights in oil, gas and mining projects must be identified.
The EITI recommends that beneficial ownership information is made available through public registers. At a minimum, the information must be included in the country’s EITI Report.
Requirement 2.5 of the EITI Standard (2016) covers beneficial ownership.
Map shows the status as of May 2016.
In the last three years, the fight against secret company ownership has gained great momentum. The G8 and G20 have made transparency in beneficial ownership a key priority. The EU has required member states to establish registers. Several countries have passed national legislation and are working towards public registers. Yet, to date, there is relatively little beneficial ownership information out in the open. The EITI is one of few organisations that has delivered practical results through annual collection and publication of beneficial ownership information in EITI Reports, and through the beneficial ownership pilot conducted in 11 countries from 2013-2015.
View progress by country by following the link to the country page: