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Mixed reports on Myanmar's transparency

July 11, 2013 at 8:03 AM

LONDON, July 11 (UPI) -- An advocacy group gave a mixed report on transparency measures embraced by early investors in Myanmar's offshore oil and natural gas sector.

The U.S. Office of Management and Budget in May said U.S. entities that have new net investments of more than $500,000 need to report on policies and procedures in Myanmar by July 1. The reporting requirements extend to human rights, corruption and any arrangements with security service personnel.

EarthRights International said Thursday it reviewed some of the documentation submitted by energy companies working in Myanmar and came away with a mixed assessment.

"The reporting requirements were adopted because Myanmar remains a high-risk country for foreign investment, notwithstanding recent reforms," ERI campaign director Paul Donowitz said in a statement.

It singled out a report from energy explorer Hercules Offshore, which has headquarters in Texas. ERI said Hercules provided the most extensive reporting on due diligence but left out key names of suppliers and subcontractors involved in its operations in Myanmar. Donowitz said that makes it difficult for groups like his to monitor the reforms the transparency requirements are meant to monitor.

Sanctions have eased on Myanmar as the country takes steps toward democratic reform. Human rights groups said sanctions encouraged those reforms in the first place.

Revenue Watch Institute in June gave the country its lowest rank in a report on transparency in the extractive industries.

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