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Oil agreements can be made public-Tullow official

Tullow Oil's Lesley Coldham speaking at the meeting

Tullow Oil’s Lesley Coldham speaking at the meeting

A senior  Tullow Oil official last week reiterated the company’s position on making public the Production Sharing Agreements (PSAs) the company has with the Uganda government.

Speaking at a civil society meeting in Kampala last week, Tullow’s Group Public Affairs Manager, Lesley Coldham, observed that publishing such information promotes transparency which is important for the company’s profitability.

“I want to make it clear, Tullow does not have any problem with the publication of PSAs,” she said.  “Our contracts are with the different governments. If the country agrees to have these reports published, we will publish (them). We are happy to do so if the Uganda government allows,” she added.

Tullow Oil set a precedent last month when it published details of the payments the company made last year to twelve individual governments in the countries it operates in its 2012 Corporate Responsibility Report.

The move was welcomed by transparency activists in Uganda, with most of them looking forward to more similar disclosures.

Transparency activists and like-minded politicians have persistently urged the government to declare full information on the agreements, including taxes and bonuses that the companies have agreed to pay, and the nature of any stabilisation, confidentiality and arbitration clauses. But the government has maintained that such a move would hurt its competitiveness.

The meeting was convened by Global Rights Alert and attended by oil executives and civil society leaders. It was called to discuss the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) candidate process in Uganda, with focus on the obstacles and challenges Uganda faces in fulfillment of the EITI sign-up requirements.

Report by FN