SEC wants more info on money paid by drillers

SEC wants more info on money paid by drillers

Federal regulators are pushing new rules to gather more information on energy developers’ payments to the federal government.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) proposed a rule Friday that would require fuel and mineral developers to disclose payments they make to the federal government and governments of foreign countries to win extraction rights.

ADVERTISEMENT

The rule, if finalized, would apply to oil, natural gas and mineral developers who are otherwise required to make annual reports to the SEC.

The rules are similar to those imposed on drillers by the European Union and Canada, the board said. The rule would “further the statutory objective to advance U.S. policy interests by promoting greater transparency about payments related to resource extraction,” the SEC said in a press release.

“These proposed rules would implement a statutory mandate and require disclosure consistent with other payment transparency disclosure regimes around the world,” SEC Chairwoman Mary Jo White said in a statement.

A leading oil and natural gas lobbying group immediately hit back against the rule on Friday.

The American Petroleum Institute said the standards would require drillers to reveal sensitive financial information about their operations and put them at a disadvantage because foreign firms wouldn’t need to file the same paperwork.  

“Not only could the rule hurt the millions of Americans who own shares in oil and natural gas companies, it could also cost jobs and damage America’s energy security by making it more difficult for U.S. firms to gain access to resources abroad,” Stephen Comstock, API’s director of tax and accounting policy, said in a statement.

The SEC will collect comments on the proposal until Jan. 25.