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Transparency watchdog rates ONGC's openness

Last updated on: March 18, 2011 10:21 IST

Transparency watchdog lauds ONGC's openness

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ONGC, which contributes 77 per cent of India's crude oil production and 81 per cent of natural gas, has been ranked, along with 43 other global oil and gas producers, on its openness by the Transprancy International.

ONGC, a Fortune Global 500 company and one of the highest profit-making corporation in India, has been rated by the watchdog in three specific areas: reporting on anti-corruption programmes, organisational disclosure (disclosure of operations, subsidiaries and partners) and country-level disclosure of financial and technical data.

The findings of the Promoting Revenue Transparency: 2011 Report on Oil and Gas Companies, published by Transparency International in partnership with Revenue Watch, are intended to serve as a benchmark for corporate reporting by the sector.

The report identifies current practices and areas for improvement and provide recommendations for enhancing transparency and accountability in reporting.

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Image: ONGC is among 44 companies rated by TI.
Photographs: Reuters
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Transparency watchdog rates ONGC's openness

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Anti-corruption programmes

Transparency International says more and more, oil and gas companies are adopting and making publicly available anti-corruption programmes, the content of which is becoming increasingly similar.

Nevertheless, there are many companies that still do not publish their anti-corruption codes, policies or measures, it said.

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Image: ONGC scores low in anti-graft ranking.
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Transparency watchdog rates ONGC's openness

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More companies should report in detail the features of their anti-corruption programmes, said Transparency International.

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Image: BG sits at the top in this section.
Photographs: Reuters
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Transparency watchdog rates ONGC's openness

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Organisational disclosure

Public disclosure of partnerships and subsidiaries, including their countries of incorporation, are key elements of organisational disclosure.

The average results in this section are relatively high. ONGC has beaten other national oil companies in this section and is ranked third behind BG and BHP Billiton.

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Image: ONGC tops national companies in this section.
Photographs: Reuters
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Transparency watchdog rates ONGC's openness

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Many national oil companies have a good level of disclosure.

Disclosure of equity or field partners in upstream operations, however, remains infrequent, despite the fact that equity minority partnerships often present corruption risks.

The oil major BP is ranked fourth behind ONGC, BHP Billiton and BG in this section.

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Image: BP is ranked fourth behind ONGC.
Photographs: Reuters
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Transparency watchdog rates ONGC's openness

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Country-level disclosure

Country-level disclosure on international operations has improved since the 2008 PRT report when only a handful of companies published information.

Reporting on production levels has become a broadly accepted standard and there are examples of good disclosure for financial data and reserves.

Nonetheless, in spite of this positive trend, country-level disclosure on international operations remains weak; this type of disclosure received the lowest average score of the three categories covered in the report.

Many companies do not disclose any financial data on a disaggregated country-level. Norwegian oil company Statoil is ranked number one in this section.

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Image: Statoil tops the list in this section.
Photographs: Reuters
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Transparency watchdog rates ONGC's openness

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The host country environment itself cannot be exclusively blamed for poor disclosure.

In the same host countries, often described as "difficult environments", some companies disclose extensive information, while the others disclose little or none at all.

PetroChina is at the bottom of the list, while ONGC is ranked behind Petrobras and Statoil.

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Image: PetroChina is at the bottom of the list.
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Transparency watchdog rates ONGC's openness

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Key policy recommendations

1. Detailed anti-corruption programmes should be publicly available

2. Companies should undertake voluntary independent assurance of anti-corruption programmes

3. Companies should publish details of their subsidiaries and fields of operations

4. Oil and gas companies should increase their reporting on a country-by-country basis

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Image: TI asks companies to be more open.
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Transparency watchdog rates ONGC's openness

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Transparency International adds these recommendations in its report:

5. Companies should join the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative

6. Companies should create and maintain up-to-date corporate websites

7. All national oil companies should introduce internationally or generally accepted accounting standards, as well as publish independently audited accounts

8. The relationships between home governments and national oil companies should be clear and publicly disclosed

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Image: TI wants standards in accounting.
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