Increasing global demand is driving new oil and gas discoveries. Over the next 20 years, it’s expected that 90 per cent of production will come from developing countries. Yet many countries rich in oil and gas are home to some of the world’s poorest people. How can this happen? Too often, wealth stays in the hands of politicians and industry insiders. Revenues don’t get published. Payments made to governments to exploit resources remain secret. Bribery and embezzlement go unchecked.
Many oil and gas companies protect the identities of their equity holders and subsidiaries. This allows corrupt leaders to hide stolen funds unnoticed. Inadequate financial statements make it easy to disguise corrupt deals, and impossible for any of us to monitor them. Many oil and gas companies don’t publish information country by country. This allows them to hide the royalties, taxes and fees they pay. But without this information, we can’t hold governments to account for the money they receive.
Stolen oil and gas income has terrible consequences. It benefits an elite few. But for everyone else, it fuels conflict over resources. And it traps people in poverty they’d otherwise avoid. The solution?