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Oil and gas companies need to do more on corruption: report

MILAN (Reuters) - Global oil and gas companies still need to do more to help stamp out corruption in the countries where they operate despite improvements in their anti-corruption programs, a report said on Tuesday.

Transparency International (TI) and Revenue Watch Institute (RWI) rated 44 oil and gas companies, representing 60 per cent of global output, on how they reported revenues and disclosed information on anti-corruption programs.

The report showed that publicly listed companies score better than non-listed companies while international oil companies fare better than national oil companies.

Statoil <STL.OL> scored best in country-level disclosure while CNOOC <0883.HK><CEO.N>, GEPetrol, Inpex <1605.T>, PetroChina <0857.HK> <601857.SS> <PTR.N>, and Petronas failed to score. BG <BG.L> scored best on anti-corruption programs while Gazprom <GAZP.MM> and Sonatrach were among the worst performers.

Oil and gas producers transfer considerable funds to host governments by way of license fees, royalties, dividends, taxes and support for local communities.

The report comes amid growing popular unrest in some energy-rich countries in North Africa and the Middle East with criticism they have failed to redistribute resource wealth.

"It is good news that transparency is improving, but too few companies publish what they pay governments in each country where they operate," TI chairman Huguette Labelle said.

GETTING BETTER BUT

The report, based on research carried out in 2010, showed only eight companies failed to score on anticorruption program reporting compared to 21 in the previous study in 2008.

Yet companies still need to clean up their act more on disclosure of anti-corruption measures and key financial data, especially on a country-by-country level.

"It's striking that relatively few companies disclose on a country-by-country basis the payments they made to governments," said Karin Lissakers, Director of RWI.

To help solicit change governments home to oil and gas producers should make country-by-country reporting by companies of their operations and revenues mandatory, the report said.

European Union regulations, international stock exchanges and generally accepted accounting standards should also mandate companies report on a country-by-country basis, it said.

TI is a non-governmental organization with over 90 chapters aimed at raising awareness on the effects of corruption.

(Reporting by Stephen Jewkes; Editing by Louise Heavens)

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