WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), a member of the Senate Finance Committee, at a hearing Thursday on subsidies and tax breaks for the oil industry urged the top executives of the top five oil companies — Exxon Mobil, Shell, Chevron, BP and Conoco Phillips — “to work with us to end corruption and ensure transparency in mineral-rich countries that depend on the extractive industry for their wealth.”
In questioning the oil company executives, Senator Cardin noted transparency in oil-rich nations is critical to good governance and that company compliance with these regulations should be part of their normal business procedure. Standard U.S. oil companies contracts with foreign governments regularly have exclusions for compliance regulations like the Dodd-Frank law, which requires publicly traded companies listed on the U.S. stock exchanges to disclose in SEC filings how much they pay foreign governments to acquire drilling and mining rights in their countries. Further, he pointed out there is growing momentum around the world in other markets to replicate similar regulations, making compliance even easier.
“U.S. oil companies have been reluctant to comply with this requirement and I call on the industry to promote stability in oil rich nations by complying with the requirement in the Dodd-Frank law and to work with us to promote compliance among international companies,” said Senator Cardin. “We need worldwide compliance with Dodd-Frank and I call on your to help us achieve that goal.”
Senator Cardin joined Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN) in authoring the provision to the Dodd-Frank financial industry reform bill requiring publicly traded companies to report payments to foreign governments for drilling and mining rights.