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Brussels close to tougher transparency rules

28 Mar 2013, 12.51 pm GMT

Brussels close to tougher transparency rules

Brussels, 28 March (Argus) — The European Parliament and the EU's Irish presidency are close to concluding negotiations on tougher oil and gas transparency rules. The new EU legislation would set a €100,000 ($150,000) payment threshold to trigger reporting on a country and project basis.

Negotiators from the European Parliament and the EU's Irish presidency, representing member states, have agreed on granting no exemptions for EU extractive companies operating in third countries that prohibit disclosure of payments by law.

Member states deleted a requirement, put forward by parliament, to detail payments for pipeline transit fees and government security forces. Projects would have to be defined according to a legal agreement between a company and host government rather than internal company criteria.

The compromise reached sets the threshold to trigger reporting at €100,000, rather than €500,000 as put forward last year by member states or €80,000 as favoured by MEPs.

The European Commission first proposed the new transparency rules in October 2011 as part of revised draft accounting and transparency directives. Last August, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) adopted detailed final rules setting a $100,000 threshold and mandating project level reporting.

EU officials hope to conclude negotiations on 9 April. This would allow the legislation to be formally adopted before the summer.

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