The French oil company Total becomes one of the first major oil companies to announce that they will advocate for the public disclosure by countries of their petroleum contracts and licenses. By coming out in favour of contract transparency, the company is joining ranks with mining giant Rio Tinto, as well as smaller oil companies Kosmos Energy and Tullow Oil. In a statement, EITI Chair, Fredrik Reinfeldt “welcomed and commended Total’s new policy,
Contracts, licenses and associated agreements establish many of the commitments between government and oil, gas or mining companies. In some cases, the terms of these contracts and licenses may be standard and complemented by taxation regimes. In other cases, these contracts, licenses and agreements include detailed terms for how the government and companies agree to share risk and reward over the life of long-term oil, gas and mining projects. Wherever the information is held,
How stakeholders from government, civil society and industry worked together to make contract disclosure a reality.
Last month, Ghana launched its new petroleum register, which discloses a wealth of information on the companies extracting the country’s oil and the terms of their agreements with the Government of Ghana. This includes the actual contracts, outlining the legal and fiscal terms and conditions for the companies’ activities.
In the Philippines, communities can be involved in developing social and community programs with extractive companies' support, such as the construction of schools, hospitals and roads. Communities are then involved in monitoring the terms of contracts and making sure programs are fully delivered. In order to do this, access to timely, relevant, and comprehensive data and contracts is key. Equally important is understanding what the data means.
Since 2013, the EITI Standard has “encouraged” public disclosure of contracts (see section 2.4 in the latest edition). In a recent report, Don Hubert and I noted that this gave important additional momentum to the issue of contract disclosure. And while it is difficult to attribute causality to policy change, since the release of the 2013 EITI Standard, nine new countries released contracts,
The Contract transparency landscape within EITI is changing fast. More than half of EITI member countries have disclosed extractive industry contracts and 16 EITI supporting companies have now made statements supporting publication in some form. In the last year alone,
Mining giant Rio Tinto was the first major mining company to announce that they will support the public disclosure by countries of their mining contracts and licenses. By coming out in favour of contract transparency, the company is joining ranks with Total, as well as smaller oil companies Kosmos Energy and Tullow Oil. In a statement, EITI Chair, Fredrik Reinfeldt “welcomed and commended Rio Tinto’s policy, as a transparency leader in mining.” Simone Niven, EITI Board member and Group Executive,
Creating a level playing field for all companies in Mali
The Publish What You Pay (PWYP) Mali coalition and the Office of the Auditor General (OAG) have made numerous calls for the publication of mining contracts. They are doing this because publication of contracts will help improve the monitoring of revenues received by local government and ensure that companies comply with their social and environmental commitments.
The Government of Malawi formally committed to disclose all oil, gas and mining contracts in December 2015 at a Malawi EITI stakeholders meeting in Lilongwe. At the meeting, the then Principal Secretary Ben Botolo responsible for mining said that all contracts were already available upon request at the Department of Mines. As civil society, we were quick to take government at their word. But we soon discovered that while mining contracts were easily accessible,
The International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) is a partner and supporting organisation to the EITI. Twenty-seven companies are members of ICMM, through which they are supporters of the EITI. ICMM CEO Tom Butler attended the recent EITI Board meeting in Berlin and participated in a side event on contract transparency with EITI Chair Fredrik Reinfeldt. Tom explains ICMMs policy on contract transparency and the impact it has had in this Q&A.