Analysis: U.S. law to increase Iraq oil-sector transparency

A new U.S. law requiring companies to disclose payments to resource-rich governments could help lift the veil on Iraq’s oil-sector bookkeeping.
Iraqi Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani (center) with officials from the ministry and Exxon Mobil after the signing of the West Qurna Phase 1 contract Jan. 25 (BEN LANDO/Iraq Oil Report)

One short clause, inserted into a U.S. bill to clean up Wall Street just before the summer break, will likely transform disclosure and reporting rules for extractive companies around the world – even in Iraq.

The new law will require companies to report annually on almost every payment they make to any government around the world to develop oil, gas, or other natural resources. The first reporting round could be as early as 2012.

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