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Praise for greater transparency

April 25, 2005, 14:40 CEST

The Publish What You Pay (PWYP) campaign has praised Statoil for an important contribution to global efforts for more transparency over payments from extractive industries to host countries.

A breakdown covering a number of financial transactions in 26 of the 29 countries in which the group operates is provided in its sustainability report for 2004.

“Our ambition for next year is to publicise the value of the oil falling to the authorities from the various projects,” says Rolf Magne Larsen, senior vice president for country analysis and social responsibility.

A press release from PWYP notes that the breakdown represents “an important step forward by Statoil which proves that oil companies can be more open about their payments to governments if they choose to be”.

PWYP was established in 2000 by Global Witness and others, and is currently backed by 270 non-governmental organisations.

The idea behind the campaign is that companies must begin to publish their financial transactions.

This will make it possible for residents in every country – and particularly developing nations – to learn how much their governments receive from the extractive industries.

Mr Larsen notes that the campaign has been pursued in various ways. During the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002, for instance, UK prime minister Tony Blair proposed an Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).

This has developed a framework for reporting profits earned by the extractive industries in developing countries.

The EITI recently published its first national report, on Azerbaijan, to show what companies have paid in taxes and what the national treasury has received. Deloitte and Touche audited the figures.

“We’re positive to the publication of the EITI report, which is the first of its kind,” says Mr Larsen, and adds that Statoil contributed to the compilation of this document.

“Efforts to secure greater transparency over financial transactions in the oil industry help to combat corruption.”