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Oil trader Trafigura Group jockeys for more transparency

Trader for the first time disclosing new information about payments to governments.

By
Daniel J. Graeber
Oil trader Trafigura said it's disclosing new information about who gets paid for what in the global marketplace. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI
Oil trader Trafigura said it's disclosing new information about who gets paid for what in the global marketplace. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, Nov. 14 (UPI) -- Oil trader Trafigura Group said it was leading the industry in transparency initiatives by disclosing how much money it paid to governments last year.

The trader said that last year it made about $14 billion in payments to governments or government-controlled companies, a decline of about 24 percent from the previous year. For the first time, the company said it was disclosing the payments it made in all of the countries where it does business, not just those party to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.

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Trafigura CEO Jeremy Weir said his company last year became the first to disclose payments made to national oil companies under the EITI initiative.

"This year we are publishing additional data as part of this process, including an aggregate figure of payments made by Trafigura to non-EITI countries," he said in a statement. "This provides further context and demonstrates the challenge ahead in broadening existing EITI coverage."

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The company reported purchases of around $900 million in oil and or petroleum products from EITI member states in 2015, a decline of about 70 percent from the previous year.

The decline may be in part a reflection of a weaker energy sector. Trafigura reported profit for the second quarter of around $600 million, a decline of 10 percent from the previous year.

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Part of the decline may also reflect a lesser role in the Nigerian oil sector, with volumes traded falling off sharply for Trafigura in 2015.

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Last week, the Nigerian branch of the EITI said it was trying to build its reputation in the country's oil and gas sector, but cautioned that, "As ever, the devil is in the detail."

Meeting with the Nigerian president in early 2016, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called on Nigeria to work to improve government transparency and accountability. Transparency International last year ranked Nigeria as one of the more corrupt powers in the world.

Weir added that Trafigura was leading a working group trying to add more detail to transparency reported.

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"We expect this group to make important headway in spreading best practices in disclosure and towards generating useful and relevant information for the citizens of participating oil-producing countries," he said.

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