Norway tests out new approach to stakeholder engagement

First EITI country to systematically disclose all information required by the Standard holds first annual meeting on extractive industry revenues.

Norway’s Ministry of Petroleum and Energy (MPE) is hosting the country’s first annual stakeholder meeting on petroleum activities on 23 October in Oslo, following extensive national discussions on how to structure stakeholder engagement.

This is “the next step in the evolution of Norway’s engagement with the EITI and a reflection of our commitment to good governance of the sector”, said Assistant Director General at the MPE Gro Anundskaas. “Norway’s approach to the governance of our oil and gas industry is built on the transparent and consultative engagement of society through our democratic processes. This meeting is an opportunity to bring our systematic disclosures under the EITI closer to this all-encompassing multi-stakeholder group”.

Systematic disclosure of information

Norway, Europe's second-biggest natural gas supplier after Russia, became the first EITI implementing country to systematically disclose all the information required by the Standard in 2016. In practice, this means that the country publishes information about its oil and gas sector primarily through its online portal, www.norskpetroleum.no, rather than in an EITI Report.

Disclosures through the online platform include taxes and other payments received by the authorities from petroleum companies operating on the Norwegian continental shelf. Transparency in company payments to the Norwegian government should be ensured through reports prepared by the companies themselves, in accordance with the EU’s mandatory reporting requirements.

Addressing corrective actions

In another first, the Board allowed Norway agreed to hold annual meetings with stakeholders to discuss the information required to be disclosed by the Standard.

“The EITI Board agreed in 2017 that Norway’s open and consultative approach to the governance of the sector could provide the oversight function traditionally ascribed to multi-stakeholder groups under the EITI Standard”, EITI Technical Director Sam Bartlett said.

“This stakeholder meeting on 23 October follows long-standing discussions among Norwegian stakeholders about the role that the multi-stakeholder group (MSG) should have in a Norwegian context – not least as concerns the role that the EITI should have in contributing to public debate in Norway”, he added.

These concerns were reflected in the EITI Board’s decision on Norway’s first Validation, which gave Norway 12 months to carry out corrective actions notably regarding the requirements on civil society engagement. The Board concluded that Norway had made meaningful progress in implementing the EITI Standard.

Validation is the EITI’s independent quality-assurance process. Norway’s next Validation is scheduled to begin on 4 December 2018.

At its meeting in Manila in October 2017, the EITI Board agreed to grant Norway “adapted implementation” with respect to EITI Requirements 1.1-1.5 (on oversight by the multi-stakeholder group) and 7.1-7.4 (on impact and contribution to public debate). In taking this decision, the EITI Board noted that “Norway is in an exceptional situation compared to many other resource-rich countries in that there is already a well-functioning data portal providing comprehensive information about the sector, and a natural resource governance model built on multi-stakeholder principles”.