National oil company transparency will help fight corruption, NRGI says

29 April 2019 12:02pm

25 April 2019. By Robert Thomason.

Better reporting by national oil companies would help improve anti-corruption efforts and other governance issues relating to the companies, said a report based on a new database of 71 state-owned oil firms, which noted these entities have recently been entangled in major corruption scandals.

"Several core elements of [national oil company] management in many countries leave them prone to corruption risks, especially where public oversight and corporate governance checks are weak," said a report by the Natural Resource Governance Institute, which released the database and its analytical report at a panel discussion. "Continued improvements in public reporting are critical for the enhancement of benchmarking and other elements of NOC governance."

National oil companies, owned by the governments of countries in which they operate, hold most of the oil and gas reserves in the world, and sometimes contribute more than 20 percent of national revenues of the national budgets. But the NRGI report last week said reporting often occurs in countries with high levels of corruption.

"In recent years, prominent cases where NOCs have been linked to devastating corruption include Brazil, where the 'car wash' scandal caused billions of dollars in lost public assets and resulted in convictions of hundreds of prominent officials; Mexico, where Pemex has been accused of accepting millions of dollars in bribes; and Congo-Brazzaville, where senior officials at the Société Nationale des Pétroles du Congo have allegedly engaged in arbitrage in oil sales in order to enrich politically connected businesses to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars," NRGI said.

The new database, available to the public at nationaloilcompanydata.org provides information, dating to 2011, about production levels of the national oil companies, their annual revenues, and the amount of money they transfer to their national treasuries.

NRGI also calculated ratios of these raw data and presented them as analytical tables. For example, one table showed the national oil companies' transfers to national treasuries as percentages of the companies' net incomes.

	Eliot Gao