--EU to propose that energy and mining companies disclose payments made to
--Industry has concerns over business-sensitive information
--EU draft requires report of payments by country and by project
BRUSSELS (Dow Jones)--The European Union's executive body will next week propose
that energy and mining companies are required to disclose payments made to non-EU
governments, raising concerns in the industries involved about sensitive
Oil and gas companies pay billions of dollars, by way of taxes and royalties, to
governments of the non-EU countries where they operate, and concerns about the
legality of these payments has prompted EU efforts to increase transparency and
create legislation comparable to the U.S. Dodd-Frank law.
According to the draft proposals-which could change before becoming public--seen
by Dow Jones Newswires, oil, gas and mining companies would have to report
payments not only by country, but also by project.
The latter proposal is creating some industry opposition--companies want to keep
such details confidential because they consider them business sensitive. They also
fear that disclosing the money paid by project would potentially create tensions
in the countries of operation, because it would highlight any differences in
payments among regions, or how much central governments retain, or even open
divisions where fields stretch across contested borders, like in the Caspian Sea.
"Project-level data could seriously jeopardize market access for EU-based
companies, because host governments are often sensitive about such data," said
Daniel Brinkwerth, account director at policy and media consultancy firm G+europe
in Brussels, who advises major energy and mining companies on the issue.
According to the draft of one of the proposals that the European Commission is
expected to release next Tuesday, oil, gas, mining and logging companies "shall
prepare and make public annually a report on payments made to governments where
those payments made in the financial year are, in aggregate, material to the
Those reports would have to detail "the type and total amount of payments,
including payments in kind, made to each government in the financial year," the
draft reads. Also, "where those payments can be attributed to a specific project
[the report should include] the type and total amount of payments, including
payments in kind, made for each such project in the financial year," it reads.
The drafts could change before becoming public, and the final versions will have
to be backed by the European Parliament and EU governments. The commission wasn't
immediately available to comment.