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US official expects Exxon, other oil firms, to share tax data

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An Obama administration official said on Tuesday that he expects that leading energy companies like Exxon Mobil Corp will next year disclose what they pay in US taxes.

[WASHINGTON] An Obama administration official said on Tuesday that he expects that leading energy companies like Exxon Mobil Corp will next year disclose what they pay in US taxes.

Exxon was one of 30 energy companies that earlier this month rebuffed a US call to publish what they pay in taxes when they drill or mine.

Leaders of that auditing effort, the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), faulted oil and gas companies for holding back tax information. But next year will be different, said Greg Gould who collects energy revenue for the US Interior Department. "The status quo is not going to hold. We are moving forward," said Mr Gould, director of the Office of Natural Resources Revenue.

On Friday, the Securities and Exchange Commission outlined how oil, gas and mining companies could disclose government payments and so satisfy a provision of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law.

Mr Gould said he monitored the SEC meeting last week and was"very happy with what I heard." Specifically, the SEC would require energy companies to give a detailed accounting of what they pay governments from each energy patch.

Leaders of the oil and gas sector have sued to block the SEC rules in the past and may do so again. "We are weighing our options," a spokesman for the American Petroleum Institute, a leading industry voice, said.

A spokesman for Exxon directed Reuters to the API statement.

Mr Gould said he expected the SEC disclosure rule would come into force within months and that the public would benefit from the increased disclosure. "This is the public's money and to have a process that is very transparent and open with how that money comes in and how it's dispersed is critical to all of us," Mr Gould said.

REUTERS