Contract Transparency

PWYP-Canada advocates for the disclosure of the contracts signed between extractive companies and host governments. Contracts provide essential information for citizens and civil society to ascertain whether they are getting a fair deal for their resources, and also to be able to monitor whether both the government and companies are respecting their obligations (as contracts often include information such as environmental protection measures and information on land use and rights). For companies, disclosing contracts can help increase trust while clarifying their obligations towards a community promotes a better relationship. 

Any oil, gas or mining company that is publicly listed in Canada must already comply to a certain degree of contract disclosure as they are required to publish any ‘material’ contract on which their business is substantially dependent and represents the majority of the company’s business (50% or more).This current requirement requires a higher degree of transparency for junior extractive companies, as they are more likely to focus on a single project or on a handful of projects, increasing the likelihood of a project comprising over 50% of their business. Larger multinational companies are less likely to be required to disclose contracts given that they often have a multitude of projects worldwide.

Contract Disclosure around the world

The map below shows where extractive contracts have been published. A dark grey marker means that contracts were published by the host government, a light grey marker means that the contract was published through corporate disclosure or other.

 

Disclosing Canadian Contracts

PWYP-Canada worked with Open Oil to find contracts disclosed by Canadian extractive companies through their listings obligations. The project yielded 35 contracts, several of those from countries where contract information has hitherto been difficult to access, such as Chad, Colombia, Guatemala, Egypt, India, Kenya, Kazakhstan, Tanzania, Tunisia and Yemen. Although these contracts were legally disclosed, many of them had been considered secret until PWYP-Canada and Open Oil’s project. 

There may yet be some more of these contracts, the lack of an easy way to search across filings for oil and gas contracts mean that some may remain published but undiscovered. PWYP-Canada also discovered a lack of consistency over whether all required companies were correctly publishing extractive contracts.

This contracts hunt significantly contributed to the Open Oil repository of extractive contracts from around the world, which you can access here.

To learn more:

How to read and understand an oil contract

How to read and understand a mining contract

Explore Open Oil's contract repository  

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