By December 23, 2015 Read More →

SEC disclosure proposal ‘could harm’ US oil and gas producers – API

Proposed SEC rule requires publicly traded energy firms to release payment info that could be commercially sensitive


A new rule on disclosure requirements for America’s oil and natural gas industry proposed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission could harm US competitiveness while possibly weakening a decade-old effort to implement payment transparency programs worldwide, according to the American Petroleum Institute.

“The oil and natural gas industry strongly supports payment transparency to help citizens hold their governments accountable for how natural resource revenues are spent,” said Stephen Comstock, API director of tax and accounting policy.

As proposed, the SEC rule requires publicly traded energy firms to release detailed payment information about foreign and U.S. projects that could be commercially sensitive, according to API.

Under this requirement, firms would have to reveal extensive data about how much they pay in licenses, taxes, royalties and other fees – potentially giving their competitors an upper hand when bidding for future energy contracts.

“Our industry has been working hard to increase transparency for more than a decade, but this rule could interfere with ongoing efforts by making US firms less competitive against state-owned firms not covered by this rule,” said Comstock.

He says the industry has been working globally since 2003 to implement the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, a program that has now been implemented in 49 countries and promotes good governance and transparency through collaboration between national governments, civil society and national industry players.


Chair of SEC, Mary Jo White

“The SEC rule would only apply to U.S. firms, placing them at a competitive disadvantage against government-owned oil giants not subject to the rule,” Comstock said.

“Not only could the rule hurt the millions of Americans who own shares in oil and natural gas companies, it could also cost jobs and damage America’s energy security by making it more difficult for U.S. firms to gain access to resources abroad.”

Comstock says the API has provided the SEC a model that can be used to achieve the goal of increased transparency while also remaining faithful to its core mission to protect American investors.

“We think that is the better approach and have encouraged the SEC to adopt it,” he said.

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