Tullow Oil gets thumps-up

Charles Darku - CEO, Tullow GhanaThe Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) has acknowledged the efforts being made by Tullow to change the architecture of payment disclosure in the oil industry.

“We recall at our international conference held last year, 2013, at which Tullow Oil announced its decision to implement the EU transparency directive ahead of the formal implementation target in the United Kingdom; and we are extremely delighted that this promise has been fulfilled,” a statement from ACEP made available to the Graphic Business said. 

According to the statement, “Tullow Oil in its 2013 annual report disclosed very important data covering its operations in 22 countries including Ghana.” 

The data, it said, covered project-level reporting by taxes, royalties, and other payments. 

For its Ghana operations, the statement said, “Tullow reports payment of US$107 million in taxes and US$85 million in royalties to the government in 2013.” 

The disclosure, ACEP believes once again, demonstrates Tullow Oil’s commitment to set higher standards for the industry following important disclosures in its annual report last two years. 

“Particularly, the scope of the recent disclosure at country and project levels will enable communities that are affected directly or indirectly to assess the fiscal contributions of Tullow’s operations; and this will likely change the conversation between communities and government over their development needs and quality of public services”, it added. 

The statement further added, “The disclosure of full taxes paid to the Government of Ghana by Tullow Oil has also provided an important benchmark to validate the taxes and royalties received by the Government of Ghana from the Jubilee field exploitation. This action will enhance public accountability to citizens, an objective intended for by both the EU directives and Dodd Frank”. 

The statement noted that, “ACEP is, however, convinced that the other oil and mining companies operating in Ghana and elsewhere will soon follow this example and complement it with their own disclosures. This will complete the package as it will enable citizens to assess the overall impact of Jubilee and other projects in the country.”

Unfortunately, it noted that that was happening at the time the transparency window in Ghana was losing momentum by the day as government delays the passing of a progressive and transparent framework for governing the exploitation of oil and gas resources. 

The Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Bill proposes the adoption of an open and competitive bidding process for oil blocks and mandatory contract disclosure of contracts among others. This is more worrying because new oil contracts over promising oil blocks such as those with AMNI International and CAMAC are being rushed through Parliament ahead of the new petroleum law. 

“Whilst commending Tullow Oil for this bold disclosure regime, we wish to call on the Government of Ghana to renew its commitment to greater transparency by declaring a moratorium on all new oil contracts until the new petroleum bill is passed into law”, it said. 

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