EITI Board ushers in new era of systematic disclosures

Norway becomes first country to progress from EITI reporting to full systematic disclosure

25 October 2017 - The EITI Board today decided that Norway can proceed with ‘mainstreamed implementation’. The decision followed an application submitted to the EITI Board earlier this year. The Board’s decision means that from now on Norway will publish information about the petroleum sector on www.norskpetroleum.no rather than in an EITI Report. Disclosures through this online platform include taxes and other payments received from oil and gas companies operating on the Norwegian continental shelf. Transparency in company payments to the Norwegian government will be ensured through reports prepared by companies operating in Norway in accordance with the EU’s mandatory reporting requirements.  

Although government, industry and civil society in Norway all supported the principles of routine disclosure of EITI data, Norwegian civil society groups were not satisfied that the company reports provide financial data of sufficient quality and reliability. They would have preferred so called extended country-by-country reporting where companies would be obliged to include details on taxes in their audited financial statements.

EITI Chair Fredrik Reinfeldt said: “Norway’s  progression from EITI reporting to routine disclosure of data on the petroleum sector is a milestone for the EITI. It sets the ambition for how other EITI member countries should strive to make their licensing and tax systems transparent. It also shows the complementarity between the EU mandatory reporting requirements and the EITI”.

The decision of the EITI Board acknowledged the difference of opinions on corporate data quality and, in accordance with the EITI Requirements, emphasised the responsibility of all stakeholders in Norway to agree an approach that will ensure data quality . Norway will also be expected to implement the EITI’s requirement for public beneficial ownership disclosure for all oil and gas companies applying for, or holding, licenses for petroleum exploration and production in Norway.

Norway will also take a different approach to multi-stakeholder engagement and public debate. The Norwegian application to the EITI Board noted that “the EITI has been positive for Norway, but for this to continue it is important that implementation take into account that Norway already embodies the participatory processes that the EITI seeks to foster in other implementing countries.” All stakeholders in Norway agreed that from now on, the conversations that previously took place within Norway’s EITI multi-stakeholder group will be held through existing fora for discussion and debate on the petroleum sector in Norway.