By Ahmed Mousa Jiyad.

Any opinions expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

EITI Restores Iraq’s Compliance Status, with Conditions Attached

The board of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) decided on 16 October 2019 to reinstates Iraq status as a “compliant” country in conformity with the EITI “Standard” and roles of procedure; this is a welcoming and encouraging development.

The decisions was premised on an extensive thorough and transparent “validation” report done by the international secretariat of EITI, which assessed all what Iraq had taken through series of measures and actions designed specifically to address what had caused the Board to suspend Iraq status with EITI in October 2017.* 

Iraq and, particularly, the Ministry of Oil should be congratulated for reinstating the country’s status with EITI; and, while I fully share the sense of achievement as expressed by the MoO announcement on 20 October 2019, I emphatically call upon the Ministry to do what is needed to sustain and enhance this achievement.

Hence, if this case has any meaning and implications for the future of transparency in Iraq generally and in the extractive industry particularly, a set of reminders are mentioned first followed by a set of suggestions for moving forward.

Important Cautions and Reminders

In order not to lose sight and to avoid the false sense of complacency that is, once again, emanates from “mission accomplished” conviction, it is vital to highlights that EITI Board decision was in fact with qualification and conditional. The Iraqi authorities, the Ministry, the civil society organization among others should be aware of and be informed of the following.

First, according to the final “Scorecard”, Iraq’s overall score was “Meaningful progress”, which means “significant aspects of the requirements have been implemented and the broader objective of the requirements is being fulfilled.”

In other words the “Meaningful progress” is in fact the minimum threshold for maintaining the compliance status. The implications are Iraq should, at the minimum, maintain the “Meaningful progress” and should enhance it significantly towards “Satisfactory progress”. Actually, looking at the Scorecard it is really easy and doable to move from “Meaningful progress” to “Satisfactory progress” or even “Beyond”. But any retreat lower than the “Meaningful progress” could cause, once again, another suspension;

Second, EITI Board decision endorses the “Validation Committee” view that Iraq should take necessary corrective measures and actions. Twelve corrections were specifically mentioned and they are related to “Requirements” 1.2; 1.4; 1.5; 2.6.a; 4.1; 4.5; 4.8; 4.9; 6.1; 7.1; 7.3 and 7.4. Again, these gaps and related corrective measures are primarily directed to those requirements that Iraq scored Meaningful progress aiming at elevating the progress to higher levels i.e., Satisfactory or Beyond. Practically, EITI Board is helping Iraqi authorities by specifying where and how to take corrective actions and thus provide a roadmap for what to do next.

Third, the timeframe for taking these corrective actions and their verification is not open-ended; EITI Board decided that progress in addressing the above mentioned corrective actions will be subject to the next “Validation” due to commence on 16 April 2021. This implies that Iraqi EITI (IEITI) and related authorities has eighteen months to finalize what has to be done on each of these corrective actions to insure Iraq remains a compliant country; the failure to do so would risk a repetition of suspension;

Fourth, the above corrective actions should be understood as they are over and above and additional to other requirements that has scored satisfactory progress. In other words there is no tradeoff between “Meaningful progress” and “Satisfactory progress”; what should be there is progression from “Meaningful progress” to “Satisfactory progress” of “Beyond” for all EITI requirements listed in the scorecard and pursuant to latest EITI Standard adopted in Paris, June 2019.

Planning the Way Forward

The IEITI, chaired by the Minister of Oil, is responsible for and should take all necessary actions and measures through agreed-upon plan regarding the following:

First, IEITI should read carefully the documents prepared and presented by EITI that led to EITI Board decision on 16 October 2019. The purpose is specifically to prepare a checklist on what has to be done, how, when, by whom and implement the planned actions well before 16 April 2021;

Second, make specific suggestions regarding how to improve the quality and coverage of the IEITI Annual Report; the IEITI Work-Plan; the IEITI Activity Report and any other publications by IEITI. All such documents should, preferably, be subject to external quality control before releasing them to the public since the experience of the last ten years indicates that these reports, particularly the annual reports are full of inaccuracies, flaws, copy & paste, wrong data among others;

Third, how to make MSG more proactive, productive and have effective role in particularly the following: drafting the ToRs for the Independent Administrator; preparation process of the annual report through more participatory approach; the coverage of the annual report pursuant to the latest EITI Standard; insure grater and growing impacts and encourage wider societal engagement and connectivity among other;

Fourth, IEITI should be an example of transparency by publishing on its website all what is related to its activities including records of MSG meetings, MSG members attendance verified by their signatures; issues debated and how decisions are taken, etc;

Fifth, insure full and timely data disclosure on every aspects of the extractive industry in the country, particularly by the Ministry and its State Companies operating in the upstream petroleum sector including both volumes and fiscal indicators; such data disclosure should be posted monthly and accessible through IEITI website;

Sixth, grant priority to the development of the human and systemic national efforts of the IEITI National Secretariat and their involvement in particularly the preparation of the annual reports, in the development of the needed database, in providing technical and professional supporting activities, in organizing workshops and activities among others;

Seventh, IEITI suffers from declining external financial support and funding that bound to impact the level and frequency of its activities. That was due largely to the removal of Iraq from the priority screen of NRGI; the suspension of Iraq by EITI in October 2017 and by the significant reduction of the World Bank funding. Luckily, Iraq had concluded recently (or in fact renewed) it is cooperation agreement with Norway’s NORAD’s Oil for Development program and, thus, IEITI is strongly advised to capitalize on this agreement and utilize different opportunities it offers;

Eighth, the entire above are feasible, doable and useful; IEITI should start promptly working on them. It might be relevant for IEITI to convene a well prepared “professional, action oriented workshop” for specialist and expert with proven track record to address the above aiming at drafting the workable and functional roadmap.

 

* I have covered, monitored and written extensively on IEITI since its inception; for background information and analysis on IEITI and that phase onwards, interested readers find more on my contributions, in Arabic and English, that are accessible through the following links:

http://www.iraq-businessnews.com/category/oil-gas/ahmed-mousa-jiyad/

http://www.akhbaar.org/home/search/?sq=Ahmed%20Mousa%20jiyad

http://www.alnoor.se/author.asp?id=7149

 

Mr Jiyad is an independent development consultant, scholar and Associate with the former Centre for Global Energy Studies (CGES), London. He was formerly a senior economist with the Iraq National Oil Company and Iraq’s Ministry of Oil, Chief Expert for the Council of Ministers, Director at the Ministry of Trade, and International Specialist with UN organizations in Uganda, Sudan and Jordan. He is now based in Norway (Email: mou-jiya(at)online.no, Skype ID: Ahmed Mousa Jiyad). Read more of Mr Jiyad’s biography here.

The EITI Board has decided that Iraq has made meaningful progress in implementing the EITI Standard.

Validation, the EITI’s quality assurance process, found that Iraq’s performance in implementing EITI Requirements has improved markedly since the country’s first Validation in 2017. Iraq’s suspension as a result of poor results in its first Validation has now been lifted, a development that reflects a substantial rate of progress over the last two years.

“Iraq’s implementation of the EITI Standard is now disclosing some USD 45bn in crude oil sales annually,” said Chair of the EITI Board Helen Clark. “The challenge now is for Iraq to strengthen multi-stakeholder oversight of its extractive industries and to use this emerging transparency to enhance accountability in the governance of its natural resources.”

Breaking ground in data disclosures

The Board recognised Iraq’s progress, through the EITI, in disclosing information that was previously inaccessible to stakeholders, ranging from data on oilfields and petroleum property rights to publishing the financial statements of oil and gas state-owned enterprises.

Iraq’s most recent EITI reporting also provides a diagnostic of the efficacy of government oversight of the extractives, including in identifying arrears of undisbursed subnational transfers of ‘petrodollar’ allocations. Validation has acknowledged these tangible gains in the transparency of Iraq’s oil and gas sector, building on a series of first-ever disclosures.

“The results of this second Validation reflect our concerted efforts to open up the management of Iraq’s oil and gas industry through regular and comprehensive disclosures,” said Iraq’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Oil Thamer Al-Ghadhban. “We want to use the EITI not only to frame our systematic disclosures of oil and gas data but more importantly to support an evidence-based debate on our reforms.”

From transparency to accountability

Yet this emerging transparency has not been matched by commensurate efforts to ensure the data contributes to public debate and decision-making. Systematically disclosing data required by the EITI Standard would enable Iraq to focus on using EITI data to improve accountability in the governance of the oil and gas sector.

The Board encouraged Iraq to integrate its systematic disclosures of EITI data to ongoing public finance management reforms, such as the World Bank and European Union’s modernisation of Public Financial Management systems project.

The Board also urged Iraq to strengthen its multi-stakeholder oversight of the extractives to ensure more active contributions from companies and civil society to the government’s management of the extractive industries, including through the Multi-Stakeholder Group overseeing EITI implementation.

The decision by the EITI Board gives Iraq 18 months to address 12 gaps in its implementation of the EITI Standard before a third Validation on 17 April 2021.

Iraq submitted an adapted implementation request for its 2016-2018 EITI Reports, and the Board did not therefore take account of weaknesses in coverage of Iraqi Kurdistan in its assessment of Iraq’s progress in implementing the EITI Standard.

(Source: EITI)

By Ahmed Mousa Jiyad.

Any opinions expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Transparency in the Arab Countries’ Upstream Petroleum Sector- Iraq as case study*

While upstream petroleum sector is either dominant or has significant importance in many Arab economies of MENA region, the transparency of the sector is alarmingly lacking; this is manifested by their “formal” association with Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI), which is extremely limited and their Resource Governance Index (RGI) and Corruption Perception Index (CPI) that are too poor.

This presentation comprises three parts;

The first part addresses, briefly, the essence of transparency and what it entails:

  • Full disclosure & availability of and accessibility to related Data & Information;
  • Openness, answerability, accountability;
  • Multiplicity of involved, reporting or concerned entities;
  • Objective, Independent & Verifiable Indicators;
  • Transparency is not rhetorical claim; it is evidence-based;
  • Reconciliation of data: Materiality, Identifiably, Measurability;
  • Constitutional Premises (ownership) Right and Rights Based Development- RBD

Also, this part provides a selection of most known international entities specialized in the matter; these are EITI, Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI), Transparency International (TI), Publish What You Pay (PWYP) and the Fund for Peace. Each of these entities has its distinct methodology, working procedures and publications. In addition to them, this part refers to the IMF’ Fiscal Transparency Code.

 

The second part exhibits charts on the standing of the Arab countries based on the latest available data and information from three international entities: EITI, NRGI-RGI and TI-CPI.

As on September 2019 only Mauritania has “meaningful progress” standing with EITI; Iraq was “suspended” since October 2017 due to “inadequate progress” and Yamen was “suspended” on February 2015 due to “political instability”, then in October 2017, Yemen was “delisted” and, thus, could be invited to reapply to the EITI once conditions were again favourable for implementation.

Obviously, the above manifests extremely poor standing (in number of countries and their status) with EITI.

The NRGI’ RGI measures the quality of resource governance in countries that together produce 82 percent of the world’s oil, 78 percent of its gas and a significant proportion of minerals, including 72 percent of all copper. RGI is the product of 89 country assessments (eight countries were assessed in two sectors), compiled by 150 researchers, using almost 10,000 supporting documents to answer 149 questions.

NRGI’s RGI for 2017 (oil and gas only) covers 89 countries and provides their “Score” on a scale of 100 and “Rank” of 89. RGI 2017 classifies the standing of countries according to their scores into: Good (>74); Satisfactory (60:74); Weak (45:59); Poor (30:44) and Failing (<30).

All the 12 Arab countries covered by RGI scored less than 60 out of 100. Countries with Weak score are Tunisia, Kuwait and Oman. Those scored poorly are Qatar, UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Algeria and Yamen. Finally, Libya scored failing.

TI’ CPI 2018 draws on 13 surveys and expert assessments to measure public sector corruption in 180 countries and territories, giving each a Score from zero (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean) and their Ranks accordingly.

Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Iraq and Lebanon each scored less than 30; Egypt, Algeria, Kuwait, Tunisia, Morocco, Jordan and Saudi Arabia scored over 30 up to 50; Oman, Qatar and UAE scored over 50 to 70.

Since both RGI and PCI are composite indexes, there is strong correlation between Scores and Ranks: low scores are associated with high rank numbers; high rank number means at the bottom of the list.

In conclusion all the standing of Arab countries is alarmingly very poor and disappointing with EITI, NRGI and TI.

 

The third part of the presentation focuses on Iraq as a case study on transparency through its association and experience with EITI.

Briefly, Government of Iraq (GoI) launched (2007/8) the International Compact with Iraq (ICI) in cooperation with the UN and the WB. ICI specifically calls to, “Establish and implement mechanisms to ensure transparency of petroleum sector flows”.

The government publicly announced its commitment to work with all stakeholder groups at the 4th EITI Global Conference in Doha, Qatar, in February 2009, and then made formal commitment to EITI at the Iraq EITI (IEITI) launching conference on 10-11 January 2010; a month later the country was accepted, by EITI Board, as a Candidate.

The first validation report, prepared by EITI’ International Secretariat- IS staff, endorsed by Adam Smith International- ASI, prompted EITI Board to announce, on 12 December 2012, Iraq as “Compliant” country under EITI rules and process. On 3 April 2013, IEITI organized big event in Baghdad celebrating this achievement by Iraq.

A team from EITI-IS visited Iraq during 1-9 April 2017 and held numerous meetings in Baghdad and, also, in Dubai (UAE); IS Report presents the findings and initial assessment of the data gathering and stakeholder consultations and followed EITI usual and unified “Validation Procedures” and applied the “Validation Guide” in assessing Iraq’s progress with the EITI Standard.

Iraq was found to have inadequate progress in implementing the EITI Standard in October 2017. The country status as “compliant member” was suspended and, according to EITI rules, was given a grace period to rectify the shortcomings to achieve at least “Meaningful” progress on all identified requirements.

Why and what went wrong

The presentation highlights and discussed questions relating to why and what had led to such suspension under the following headlines:

  • “Mission accomplished” and sense of complacency; frequency of MSG meetings and attendance curve
  • Wrong understanding of what “compliant” status really means;
  • Focus on “release on time” not on the quality and contents of the IEITI Annual Reports;
  • IEITI Annual report mostly Copy & Paste; most Parts are prepared by MoO/ MIM officials and full of flaws and inaccuracies;
  • Structure & composition of the MSG: dominated by Government representatives, IOCs not active, CSO lack understanding of Extractive Industry and language;
  • Big Secretariat, weak national capacity contribution and complete reliance on the Administrator;
  • Opposing domestic views: useless/invisible; event-base; abused by authorities and two extreme views (Rosy vs. UN full control!):
  • Surprising passivism on Corruption!!!!!!;
  • IEITI itself is a Black Box
  • Limited impacts that led to diminishing international support and lack of funding e.g., NORAD; NRGI: from “priority country” to “Limited engagement” to only in “RGI”;

What are next and the way forward

In this part, the presentation reviewed responses and actions taken by the Iraqi authorities since the suspension: From the initial “muteness” and “passivism” October -2 November 2018,….., to 4 Nov 2018 alerting article; Committees & changes,  …; February 2019 Baghdad Conference; EITI-IS second validation; EITI Global Conference, Paris- June 2019.

In case of re-instating Iraq “Compliant” status, IEITI still has to take specific necessary measures and actions for real impacts instead of making rhetorical statements; such measures and actions were proposed, justified and discussed during the presentation. The PowerPoint slides are attached herewith.

* Presentation delivered before the 12th Middle East and North Africa Oil & Gas Conference, organized by Target Exploration www.targetexploration.com, Imperial College, London, UK. 18 September 2019. I am very grateful to Target Exploration for sponsoring my participation.

Click here to download the PowerPoint slides presented at the conference.

Mr Jiyad is an independent development consultant, scholar and Associate with the former Centre for Global Energy Studies (CGES), London. He was formerly a senior economist with the Iraq National Oil Company and Iraq’s Ministry of Oil, Chief Expert for the Council of Ministers, Director at the Ministry of Trade, and International Specialist with UN organizations in Uganda, Sudan and Jordan. He is now based in Norway (Email: mou-jiya(at)online.no, Skype ID: Ahmed Mousa Jiyad). Read more of Mr Jiyad’s biography here.

By Ahmed Mousa Jiyad.

Any opinions expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Transparency in the Arab Countries’ Upstream Petroleum Sector- Iraq as case study*

While upstream petroleum sector is either dominant or has significant importance in many Arab economies of MENA region, the transparency of the sector is alarmingly lacking; this is manifested by their “formal” association with Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI), which is extremely limited and their Resource Governance Index (RGI) and Corruption Perception Index (CPI) that are too poor.

This presentation comprises three parts;

The first part addresses, briefly, the essence of transparency and what it entails:

  • Full disclosure & availability of and accessibility to related Data & Information;
  • Openness, answerability, accountability;
  • Multiplicity of involved, reporting or concerned entities;
  • Objective, Independent & Verifiable Indicators;
  • Transparency is not rhetorical claim; it is evidence-based;
  • Reconciliation of data: Materiality, Identifiably, Measurability;
  • Constitutional Premises (ownership) Right and Rights Based Development- RBD

Also, this part provides a selection of most known international entities specialized in the matter; these are EITI, Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI), Transparency International (TI), Publish What You Pay (PWYP) and the Fund for Peace. Each of these entities has its distinct methodology, working procedures and publications. In addition to them, this part refers to the IMF’ Fiscal Transparency Code.

 

The second part exhibits charts on the standing of the Arab countries based on the latest available data and information from three international entities: EITI, NRGI-RGI and TI-CPI.

As on September 2019 only Mauritania has “meaningful progress” standing with EITI; Iraq was “suspended” since October 2017 due to “inadequate progress” and Yamen was “suspended” on February 2015 due to “political instability”, then in October 2017, Yemen was “delisted” and, thus, could be invited to reapply to the EITI once conditions were again favourable for implementation.

Obviously, the above manifests extremely poor standing (in number of countries and their status) with EITI.

The NRGI’ RGI measures the quality of resource governance in countries that together produce 82 percent of the world’s oil, 78 percent of its gas and a significant proportion of minerals, including 72 percent of all copper. RGI is the product of 89 country assessments (eight countries were assessed in two sectors), compiled by 150 researchers, using almost 10,000 supporting documents to answer 149 questions.

NRGI’s RGI for 2017 (oil and gas only) covers 89 countries and provides their “Score” on a scale of 100 and “Rank” of 89. RGI 2017 classifies the standing of countries according to their scores into: Good (>74); Satisfactory (60:74); Weak (45:59); Poor (30:44) and Failing (<30).

All the 12 Arab countries covered by RGI scored less than 60 out of 100. Countries with Weak score are Tunisia, Kuwait and Oman. Those scored poorly are Qatar, UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Algeria and Yamen. Finally, Libya scored failing.

TI’ CPI 2018 draws on 13 surveys and expert assessments to measure public sector corruption in 180 countries and territories, giving each a Score from zero (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean) and their Ranks accordingly.

Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Iraq and Lebanon each scored less than 30; Egypt, Algeria, Kuwait, Tunisia, Morocco, Jordan and Saudi Arabia scored over 30 up to 50; Oman, Qatar and UAE scored over 50 to 70.

Since both RGI and PCI are composite indexes, there is strong correlation between Scores and Ranks: low scores are associated with high rank numbers; high rank number means at the bottom of the list.

In conclusion all the standing of Arab countries is alarmingly very poor and disappointing with EITI, NRGI and TI.

 

The third part of the presentation focuses on Iraq as a case study on transparency through its association and experience with EITI.

Briefly, Government of Iraq (GoI) launched (2007/8) the International Compact with Iraq (ICI) in cooperation with the UN and the WB. ICI specifically calls to, “Establish and implement mechanisms to ensure transparency of petroleum sector flows”.

The government publicly announced its commitment to work with all stakeholder groups at the 4th EITI Global Conference in Doha, Qatar, in February 2009, and then made formal commitment to EITI at the Iraq EITI (IEITI) launching conference on 10-11 January 2010; a month later the country was accepted, by EITI Board, as a Candidate.

The first validation report, prepared by EITI’ International Secretariat- IS staff, endorsed by Adam Smith International- ASI, prompted EITI Board to announce, on 12 December 2012, Iraq as “Compliant” country under EITI rules and process. On 3 April 2013, IEITI organized big event in Baghdad celebrating this achievement by Iraq.

A team from EITI-IS visited Iraq during 1-9 April 2017 and held numerous meetings in Baghdad and, also, in Dubai (UAE); IS Report presents the findings and initial assessment of the data gathering and stakeholder consultations and followed EITI usual and unified “Validation Procedures” and applied the “Validation Guide” in assessing Iraq’s progress with the EITI Standard.

Iraq was found to have inadequate progress in implementing the EITI Standard in October 2017. The country status as “compliant member” was suspended and, according to EITI rules, was given a grace period to rectify the shortcomings to achieve at least “Meaningful” progress on all identified requirements.

Why and what went wrong

The presentation highlights and discussed questions relating to why and what had led to such suspension under the following headlines:

  • “Mission accomplished” and sense of complacency; frequency of MSG meetings and attendance curve
  • Wrong understanding of what “compliant” status really means;
  • Focus on “release on time” not on the quality and contents of the IEITI Annual Reports;
  • IEITI Annual report mostly Copy & Paste; most Parts are prepared by MoO/ MIM officials and full of flaws and inaccuracies;
  • Structure & composition of the MSG: dominated by Government representatives, IOCs not active, CSO lack understanding of Extractive Industry and language;
  • Big Secretariat, weak national capacity contribution and complete reliance on the Administrator;
  • Opposing domestic views: useless/invisible; event-base; abused by authorities and two extreme views (Rosy vs. UN full control!):
  • Surprising passivism on Corruption!!!!!!;
  • IEITI itself is a Black Box
  • Limited impacts that led to diminishing international support and lack of funding e.g., NORAD; NRGI: from “priority country” to “Limited engagement” to only in “RGI”;

What are next and the way forward

In this part, the presentation reviewed responses and actions taken by the Iraqi authorities since the suspension: From the initial “muteness” and “passivism” October -2 November 2018,….., to 4 Nov 2018 alerting article; Committees & changes,  …; February 2019 Baghdad Conference; EITI-IS second validation; EITI Global Conference, Paris- June 2019.

In case of re-instating Iraq “Compliant” status, IEITI still has to take specific necessary measures and actions for real impacts instead of making rhetorical statements; such measures and actions were proposed, justified and discussed during the presentation. The PowerPoint slides are attached herewith.

* Presentation delivered before the 12th Middle East and North Africa Oil & Gas Conference, organized by Target Exploration www.targetexploration.com, Imperial College, London, UK. 18 September 2019. I am very grateful to Target Exploration for sponsoring my participation.

Click here to download the PowerPoint slides presented at the conference.

Mr Jiyad is an independent development consultant, scholar and Associate with the former Centre for Global Energy Studies (CGES), London. He was formerly a senior economist with the Iraq National Oil Company and Iraq’s Ministry of Oil, Chief Expert for the Council of Ministers, Director at the Ministry of Trade, and International Specialist with UN organizations in Uganda, Sudan and Jordan. He is now based in Norway (Email: mou-jiya(at)online.no, Skype ID: Ahmed Mousa Jiyad). Read more of Mr Jiyad’s biography here.

By Ahmed Mousa Jiyad.

Any opinions expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

IEITI: Making Iraq “Compliant” Again!

The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) suspended Iraq’s status as a “compliant” country on October 2017; the suspension, after initial irrational denial, prompted the Iraqi authorities to take necessary measures addressing this matter aiming for reinstating the country’s status and restoring relations with EITI.

The delayed, and still disappointing, 2016 IEITI Annual Report and this workshop, on the Report, are part of the formal efforts for making Iraq compliant again.

I have been following the progression of IEITI since its inception and directly involved, as independent external consultant, in many related research-work, peer-review assessments of related research papers, capacity development activities and consulting assignments, particularly those through Revenue Watch Institute-RWI (USA) and later through Natural Resource Governance Institute-NRGI (UK/USA).

Moreover, I have assessed every IEITI Annual Report since the first one on 2009 in addition to other related documents, work plans, annual activity reports and reports among others; as the two annexes to this intervention testify.

This brief is an outline of the PowerPoint presentation prepared, after formal invitation from IEITI National Coordinator, for and to be delivered, through Skype, before “Energy Experts Workshop on IEITI 2016 Annual Report” held in Baghdad, Iraq, 2 February 2019.

Key Messages

  • «Good Reporting» on Transparency improves transparency and enhances good governance;
  • “Publishing reports is not a goal in itself”;
  • IEITI annual Report is sovereign obligation and thus should be depoliticized;
  • 2016 Report: Progressing but Gaps Persist and the Disappointment Continues
  • Future IEITI annual Reports ought to be more qualitatively different from previous ones;
  • National capacity involvement in the process of IEITI Annual Reports preparation SHOULD be substantive and progresses significantly;
  • IEITI should be more “Independent” and Impacting than

Main Topics for Debate and Discussion

I – The Essence of Transparency in the Iraqi Extractive Industry (……..);

II – Assessing IEITI Annual Reports from 2009 through to 2016: Methodology & Guiding Principles; Each of these assessments was guided by and upholds four basic principles to be:

  • Objective (Pros & Cons: for & against)
  • Credible (Factual, truthful and evidence-based; cites examples, provides reference, specifies the case or the subject matter,.., ),
  • Independent (Professional, industry-focused, analytical and inquisitive)
  • Constructive (Improvement-oriented, forward-looking: provides suggestions, recommendations and way-out; what, how and why..)

III – IEITI 2016 Report: The Gaps Persist, the Disappointment Continues!?

PROS: Progressing but not there yet; it keeps the record of produced annual reports; First since Suspension; Includes 25 “Requirement-guided” contents.

CONS: Too long; Old information; Structurally fractured; Too many methodological flaws; Unforgivable statistical errors; Many inconsistencies; Missing items; Lacks comparative assessment; Irrelevant for policy implications; Astonishing “double counting” misjudgment; Unconvincing higher “materiality threshold”; Wrong understanding of basic terms; Lacks explanation of  very apparent and substantive data irregularities; Nothing on what plagued the sector: e.g., corruption!; Missing reconciliations of important data/revenue; Unexplained unreasonable huge PP price differentials; “Not intended to be relied upon” for “professional advice”!!!!!!; Too many more!!!!!

Required Immediate Actions for IEITI Report 2016   

  1. Remove the IEITI Report 2016 immediately from IEITI website;
  2. IEITI-NS & EY Revise, Correct, Redraft and significantly Shorten the Report to make it readable and understood by non-specialists;
  3. Cross-check (verify) the Report by External Independent Consultant;
  4. MSG reviews and approves the cross-checked Report;
  5. Circulate the cross-checked shortened, reviewed redrafted version and then translate it into the three languages.
  6. Organize few activities for specialized and professional debating of the report first then embark on wider societal engagement through different forms of participatory modalities.

IV – Lessons Learned: What, Why, How

Instead of repeating, through the usual copy& paste, lessons learned in almost every annual report, a detailed assessment of lessons learned over the 10 year experience and suggestions are done on the following related and relevant four blocks.

First, Report contracting and preparation process (……..) ;

Second, MSG’ role, effectiveness and openness (……..);

Third, IEITI- NS (…….);

Fourth, the Reconciler/ Administrator (…….).

V – IEITI Way Forward– from Symbolism through Effectiveness to Impacts

A.  Specific “Monthly/Quarterly/Annual” Evidence-Based & Verifiable Transparency Indicators (what, where, how, why..):

SOMO (volume, value, Crude type & export outlets; destination & who bought bow much, etc ;

PCLD (Field based IOCs investment; Cost recover & RF in cash and in kind; Contracts disclosure; Production ; Employment & Training; CSR; etc;

NOCs “Material balances” for BoC, MoC, MdoC, TQOC, NOC;

NGC & SGC

NRCs Input-output (CO:PP) balances: NRC, MRC, SRF;

Other MoO’ SOEs & related entities, …etc.;

MoE (Power generation)

GCT (CIT)

B.  Undertake realistic and factual IEITI SCOR Analysis;

C.  Identify Capacity & Skill Gaps;

D.  Focus on how to making and keeping Iraq EITI “Compliant”;

E.  National Capacity Development Action & Priority Plans;

F.  IEITI Structural Model & Report Process;

G.  Make IEITI “really transparent and truly open”; it is logical inconsistency and counterproductive that a transparency agency is non-transparent!!!

H.  The Reconciler/ Administrator of the IEITI Annual Report (contractual condition);

VI – Concluding Remarks and Key Takeaways

Iraqi EI governance is complex, politicized, challenging but very significant case in MENA region.

Key Takeaway: Addressing IEITI short term capacity gaps and challenges could help attaining the long term aspirations.

Improvement of IEITI working process should have a priority in bridging the Capacity Gap aiming for Real, Comprehensive, Good, Democratic and Effective EI Governance. Key Takeaway: Good, Thorough and Timely Reporting on Governance Improves Governance

Future IEITI Reports become more detailed, comprehensive and challenging due to:

1- Addressing the flaws of previous Reports and learns from past experience are a must;

2- The EITI Standard is progressing and thus its related requirements;

3- The governing contractual modalities and conditions in the Iraqi extractive industry, especially in the petroleum sector.

Key Takeaway: National Capacity Development Activities and Specialized Human Resources within IEITI-NS are urgently needed and doable;

EITI “Compliance” is always conditional and thus must be maintained.

Key Takeaway: There is no “business as usual” or “complacency” or “mission accomplished”

IEITI needs to be more “Independent” and “Proactive”.

Key Takeaway: Avoid “appeasement” of wrong-doing;

Don’t be “mute” on obvious non-transparent official practices;

Be aware of the deceptive praise by “Sultans’ advisers” and alike!! 

 

Annexes

A1- List of Research and Publications by IDC&R on IEITI and Transparency Issues.

A2- List of Presentations, Capacity Development and Consultancy Services by IDC&R, particularly those done for IEITI, RWI/NRGI.

Annexes are available upon request from Iraq/ Development Consultancy & Research-IDC&R.

 

Mr Jiyad is an independent development consultant, scholar and Associate with the former Centre for Global Energy Studies (CGES), London. He was formerly a senior economist with the Iraq National Oil Company and Iraq’s Ministry of Oil, Chief Expert for the Council of Ministers, Director at the Ministry of Trade, and International Specialist with UN organizations in Uganda, Sudan and Jordan. He is now based in Norway (Email: mou-jiya(at)online.no, Skype ID: Ahmed Mousa Jiyad). Read more of Mr Jiyad’s biography here.

By Ahmed Mousa Jiyad.

Any opinions expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Introduction

KRG’ gross oil export revenues, for 2017, stood at $7.9billion but it was left with only $3.9billion as net earnings.

When the Region receives less than half of its gross oil exports revenues, this is alarming situation indicating something has been seriously wrong and, thus, should be meticulously addressed in most transparent, truthful and evidenced-based manner. Otherwise, Kurdistan Region’s economy remains stranded in debt-trap through mortgaging future oil sales arrangements.

That is one of my conclusions after analyzing two half-yearly reports. 

Deloitte, a known international firm, was appointed by the Regional Council for Oil and Gas Affairs (RCOGA) of the Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq (KRG) to review oil production, export, consumption and revenue for 2014 through 2017.

The company, i.e. Deloitte, produced so far two half-yearly reports for 2017 covering KRG, “Oil production, export, consumption and revenue”.  The first report was dated 13 January 2018 and covers the period 1 January to 30 June 2017; hereinafter refer to by H1-2017. The second was dated 31 July 2018 covering the period 1 July to 31 December 2017; hereinafter refer to by H2-2017.

After thoroughly analyzing these two reports I conclude that:

  1. they add very little qualitative or substantive improvements on previously published reports, though it took the company 22 months to produce a report for only one year;
  2. what was produced by Deloitte was far below the requirements of known transparency thresholds, e.g. EITI Standard, since too many important data and vital information were missing and not addressed;
  3. the fact that Deloitte adopts KRG formal views and uses data held and provided by MNR to produce its only one table of data, this surely tarnish Deloitte independency of reporting; and finally,
  4. these reports offer absolutely no analyses of the provided data, particularly their fiscal impacts on the economy of the Region.

This study is composed of four parts: part one provides brief description of the structure and components of Deloitte reports; part two discusses the integrity, credibility, transparency of the process and compliance with EITI Standard; part three unifies and analysis all data of the two half-yearly reports and part four offers concluding remarks.*

I-Structure of the report and its parts

The half-yearly report comprises three different parts that are produced and disseminated separately.

The first part is entitled and contains “Questions and Answers- Kurdistan Region – Iraq Oil & Gas Sector”, hereinafter referred to in this assessment as “Q&A part”.

This part is the longest and provides narratives on 27 selected topics; they mostly represent the official views of KRG and it is therefore, the same text in both half-yearly reports.

The purpose of this Q&A part is “to help readers better understand different sections of the report.”

The second part provides data on “Oil production, export, consumption and revenue” for the related period. This 3 page part comprises introduction, one data schedule/table and explanatory notes on the schedule.

The third part is one page of infographic with a few illustrative charts of the data provided by the second part. However, this part has not yet produced for the second half-yearly report.

Each part was produced in English, Kurdish and Arabic.

This assessment focuses primarily on the data contents of part two (in both half-yearly reports), since such data constitutes the core of the entire purpose of the report, and to the clarification given in “Q&A part”.

Before going further, a few words are due.

The tri-lingual report produced concurrently contributes to disseminate information among wider readership, particularly among the local citizens (mostly Kurdish) and other Iraqis (mostly Arabs).

Also, producing the report after six months’ time-lag (for 2017) is, in comparative sense, by far better than the National Secretariat of Iraq EITI-IEITI, which its last annual report was related to 2015!

Moreover KRG’ RCOGA anticipates that data for 1 January 2018 to 31 March 2018 to be publically available in August 2018.

Timewise, all these reports are commendable achievements that deserve support and encouragement.

 

Having said that, on the downside there are two remarks.

First, the related contract with Deloitte was signed, in a closed ceremony, early October 2016; intended to cover years 2014 to 2017. Hence, taking 22 months to produce one year report is hardly a commendable performance. Moreover, it is not known when the reports for the remaining three years (2014:2016) would be ready.

Second and most important, a thorough reading of the data, the methodology and provided explanation generates many more serious remarks, concerns and identifies missing vital items; as discussed below.

 

II-The Integrity, Credibility, Transparency of the Process and Compliance with EITI Standard

The World Bank proposed and sponsored Deloitte contract in 2016 and the Bank is partially financing Iraqi EITI (Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative) activities; in 2016, Iraq was an EITI compliant country.

Yet, Deloitte’ two half-yearly reports make no reference at all to EITI and they, in my humble views, are not in compliance with or adhere to the requirements, process and procedures outlined by EITI Standard. Needless to say, this Standard provides the most practical, comprehensive and widely adopted guide on transparency in the extractive industry. Moreover, transparency thematic issues and modalities of the Standard are much more than just data review as covered by the two reports under discussion.

In other words, absence of such compliance to EITI Standard would seriously undermine the credibility or claim of transparency of any report.

Therefore, it is legitimate to ask why the World Bank did not compel KRG and Deloitte to fully comply with EITI Standard in preparing the reports.

 

The above concern was premised on the observed immature claim of transparency and biased interpretation of these half-yearly reports. For example, KRG’MNR asserts Deloitte reports, demonstrate KRGs commitment to transparency and they set a precedent to further increase transparency.  And by the way this intentional flawed interpretation of such reporting is not peculiar to KRG; Iraqi authorities expressed similar position when IEITI issued its first annual report and such wrong understanding generates a sense of self-satisfaction, mission accomplished and complacency that eventually led to suspending Iraq status with EITI.

 

When the funding for the contract was approved , “the “big four” international audit firms (Deloitte; PwC; EY; KPMG) were called upon to submit their technical and financial proposals, and which were consequently carefully reviewed and assessed, according to the international standards of the World Bank, in order to shortlist the chosen firm based on clear criteria and key performance indicators.”

Excellent! However, no information was provided on any of these “clear criteria and key performance indicators”, what are they, how the “big four” were assessed and ranked accordingly and timelines for bidding, selection and contracting activities among others. No answers!!

Obviously, that indicates an impacting lack of process transparency prior, during and after the selection. Strangely enough, the report claims, “The selection of Deloitte to carry out the review, meanwhile, was also made based on a diligent procurement and tendering process”

Without providing supporting evidence-based information on how the entire process was conducted, its diligence and transparency becomes questionable.

 

Each contract for such mission usually and preferably has, or should have, a detailed Terms of Reference-ToRs; this contract does not have any since no mention was ever made to the ToRs in any part of the reports.  Why?

 

Absence of the ToRs for the mission probably explains the apparent confusion in the interchangeable use of different terms or concepts e.g. “review” “audit” “validation” as if they are the same. They are not!!

The following example exemplifies the confusion. In its welcoming statement on the first Deloitte report MNR says, “KRG can demonstrate its commitment to transparency in the reporting of oil production and revenue, and the reviews by Deloitte and EY will help to set a precedent to further increase transparency and strengthen independent auditing and verification in the Kurdistan Region.” (Bold added)

From technical, legal and operational perspectives these particular three terms or concepts are very different in their requirement and also implications. No doubt the “big four”, as reputable known international specialized entities, aware of the fundamental differences of the above three concepts; but the current two report do not demonstrate so!

 

The report asserts, “Our review was dependent on documentation provided by all stakeholders (oil producers, refineries, oil traders, the pipeline operator, and the KRG’s Ministry of Natural Resources), and the accuracy and completeness thereof.” (Bold added)

Fine! But again, the report did not produce any data or basic information that was provided by any of the above mentioned stakeholders. Refers to “stakeholders” without identifying them, except MNR, and without providing specific data pertaining to each of them shed big cloud of doubt on the accuracy and credibility of the “aggregated” data!!!

Colleting, verifying and validating process requires producing all data submitted, independently, by all involved stakeholders using specified templates, among other means. For example, all IEITI annual reports used such methodology though the number of involved stakeholders is much more than those in KRG and the magnitudes of production, export, domestic consumption and revenues are many folds that of KRG.

Moreover, the report assumed and relied on “the accuracy and completeness” of the provided documentation! But the report did not mention whether there was any test for such “accuracy and completeness”! Obviously, this “trust me/us” orientation and approach does not serve transparency very well, if at all!

 

The “trust me/us” approach was further evidenced by using another term, i.e. “misstatement”. By intention or omission, the two half-yearly reports affirm repeatedly and emphatically, “We did not identify any misstatements” regarding Oil export and consumption and oil sales during the covered year, 2017.

Such assertion and use of “misstatement” is surprising and causes suspicion. The reports deal with different stakeholders operating at various chains in the petroleum sector in the region; some operating internally while others externally; some are locals while others international etc., and surely each stakeholder has its own accounting, invoicing, contracting, reporting, auditing procedures. Experience, from IEITI (and also other EITI documents and reports) annual reports, tells that reconciliation of data provided by the stakeholders comprises many, significant and otherwise, “discrepancies”; the ToRs for such reports decide the “materiality threshold” for and the obligation to explain, by evidence-based, such “discrepancies”.

The point here, there are many reasons for “discrepancies” to occurs and that is usual and expected, but they have to be identified, quantified and explained.    “Discrepancies” are not necessarily “misstatements”; thus using the later term by Deloitte is ratter unfortunate since it is conceptually and methodologically inaccurate, operationally misleading and politically comforting.

 

Currency issue is not addressed by the report, which says, “Apart from export sales and IOC bonuses, oil revenues are derived from local sales and from the sale of refined products.”

The report presents the values of these oil revenues that are derived from local sales (and the valuation of swap operations ) and from the sale of refined products in USD; but it did not mention anything regarding the used exchange rates between Iraqi Dinars-ID and USD. When locally generated revenues have significance in total revenues, then the issue of exchange rate becomes important variable that needs attention and recognition. Moreover, exchange rate could be a source of “discrepancies”. Deloitte should cover this issue in its forthcoming, or when revising, reports.

 

Oil production is the core of any report, particularly when it comes to transparency in the extractive industry. Though the title of the second part of the report starts with “oil production”, the report does not cover oil production at all!

Moreover, the Regional Council for Oil and Gas Affairs-RCOGA, in its statement on the second Deloitte report, “reiterates its commitment to the people of Kurdistan and stakeholders in the sector that the two international audit firms, Deloitte and Ernst & Young, will continue to independently review the oil and gas sector, inclusive of all the streams.” (Bold added). Clearly enough “all the streams” covers production and the expression “will continue” implies ongoing covering of oil production streams; Deloitte reports did not provide such cover.

But Deloitte report says, “production contributions for the individual fields is subject to additional reconciliation and verification procedures and this exercise is currently in progress”. Production from the fields is the main pillar for the entire data, so how reliable and trustworthy are such provided data when reconciliation and verification of production data are not done?

Strangely enough and despite the above remarks, the report asserts, as discussed above, “We did not identify any misstatements” in “oil export and consumption” and “oil sales”; oil production was not covered!

On this issue the report says, “It should be noted that currently Deloitte did not report on the KRG’s oil production data, pending the completion of a historical oil production reconciliation for 2014, 2015 and 2016.”

The above statement could be interpreted that oil production reconciliation for 2017 has been done and ready. If so, what are the compelling justifications for not disclosing them in the released two reports?

 

In addition to the above rather substantive remarks, there are others that tarnished the quality of Deloitte reports.

 

A matter that worth mentioning is related to “oil sales” item. In the report for the first half of 2017 it is mentioned “oil sales data and the net amount received in the month by the KRG”, while the corresponding item in the report for the second half refers to “oil sales data and the net amount received in the period by the KRG.” (Bold added). If that is an error, it must be corrected, but if it is not then it should be explained.

 

The reports that took 22 months to cover, partially, 2017, provides no clear work plan, its phases, timeliness, consultation process (with whom, when, about what etc) and whether the final text of either of the two half yearly reports were subjected to any sort of consultation process with or discussing the findings; or they were presented on the base of “trust me/us”.

 

The reports refer to the Regional Council for the Oil & Gas Affairs by two acronyms: (RCOGA) and (RCOG); A possible sign of inconsistency or carelessness.

 

Apart from the fact that most contents of “Q&A part” represent KRG official views, except a few relating to Deloitte, this part of the report contains a couple of referencing inaccuracies e.g. in items 11 and 13.

 

Finally, the report warns, “No party, other than the RCOG, is entitled to rely on this report for any purpose whatsoever”. In addition to such statement is clearly anti-transparency, it emphatically contravenes items 18 and 19 in the “Questions and Answers- Kurdistan Region – Iraq Oil & Gas Sector” part of the reports.

 

In conclusion and based on the above remarks I am of the opinion that KRG, RCOGA and Deloitte should consider seriously these remarks and make the necessary modification, correction, explanation, clarification and addition, among others to improve the quality, credibility, integrity and usefulness of the reports.

 

Based on the above remarks there is apparent doubts on the integrity and credibility of the process that need addressing by Deloitte, KRG and RCOG/A.

I will turn now to data analysis of the two reports.

 

III-Data Analysis and Assessment

As mentioned earlier the second part in both half-yearly reports provides data on “Oil production, export, consumption and revenue” for the related period. This three page part comprises introduction (one page of almost the same text in both reports, except the dates of the covered period), one schedule/table comprising data (one page) and explanatory notes on the schedule (one page).

 

The one and only schedule covers data relating to four main items, each has many sub-items. The main items are: Oil Exports and Consumption; Pipeline Export Sales Analysis; Trucking Export Sales Analysis and Financial Flows. The following offers analyses for these four main items.

Before proceeding further, it is useful highlighting the following:

First, H1-2017 report says, “All figures in Schedule 1, … , are based on the records held by the KRG”,  while H2-2017 report says, “All figures in Schedule 1, … , are based on the records provided by stakeholders to the KRG.”

This is clearly a contradiction to what Deloitte asserts, “Deloitte corresponded directly with the various stakeholders to obtain and verify the information contained in Schedule 1”

Second and as mentioned earlier, the reports do not provide data on production though the title of the part of the report mentions “oil production”; this constitutes a major flaw;

Third, the reports do not contain analytical assessment of the covered data, I have done that hereunder;

Fourth, the two parts were not combined in a yearly 2017 report or provide the annual data in one table, so I have to do that;

Fifth, the Q&A part provides no explanation or clarification of the items covered by this part; it only lists them.

 

First: Oil Exports and Consumption  

This item covers eight sub-items and a total with half yearly aggregated data; all data are expressed in number of barrels (bbls)

To begin with there is a methodological and coverage problem relating to item “crud allocated to oil producers”;

First, it is neither included in the export data nor in the consumption data. So where had these volumes gone?

Second, why this item was not mentioned in the second half-yearly report? Where there no crude allocated to the oil producers or it was reporting error? The report for the second half clarifies this,   “Total exports and consumption does not include: (1) crude oil and condensate allocated as compensation to producers; and (2) condensate sales by Dana Gas. These amounts have not been included in total exports and consumption on Schedule 1 as the MNR is not entitled to any of the proceeds from the sale or consumption of this crude oil / condensate.” But again, that report gives no data on these two types of excluded volumes!! Also, Deloitte did not explain why it includes and quantifies this item i.e. “crud allocated to oil producers” in H1-2017 report and avoids that in H2-2017; is there any politics here?

 

Also different categorization, regarding “Local sales, Sales to refineries and swap” was applied in the H2-2017 report making it difficult, or meaningless, to make sub-item comparison.

 

On the aggregate, KRG total oil “exported & consumed” in 2017 was 201.85 million barrels (bbls), 55% of which was in the first half of the year while the rest in the second half. This 10 percentage points could be attributed to post-referendum in the Region of September that year and retaking of Kirkuk by federal authority.

 

2017 oil export occurred through pipelines and trucks totaled over 187 million bbls (94.8% of which was through pipelines). It is worth mentioning that piped export includes “KRG and NOC contribution”, as the reports mention, but they do not quantify both contributions.  On a periodic comparison, piped oil export declined from 95.8 million bbls in first half of 2017 to 81.5 million bbls in the second half.

 

Second; Pipeline Export Sales Analysis

This part of the report provides data on net oil lifted by the buyers through pipeline, gross value of crude oil sold and average barrel price.

Comparing the data in this section with the corresponding data in the first section indicates discrepancies, which the report attributes to “Increase (decrease) in storage at oil terminal”

Volume of net oil lifted by the buyers through pipelines totaled 177.773 million bbls for the entire year. However, it declined from 95.937 million bbls in the first half to 81.836 million in the second half; a decline by 14.7%.

These volumes had “gross value” of $7.61 billion, with only 7.1% decline in second half of the year compared with first half; that is obviously explained by oi price improvement, as discussed next.

Average oil price increased from $41.297/b to $44.584/b in the two parts of the year respectively.

 

Third, Trucking Export Sales Analysis

Unlike piped oil export, trucking exports registered significant improvements for all three sub-items in second half of 2017 comparing with the first half. Volume-wise, trucked exports increased from 4.231million bbls to 5.147 million bbls in the two halves of the year. Gross value of these volumes almost doubled: increased from $108million to $205million. Similarly, average price a barrel increased from $25.452 to $39.883 in the same period.

 

What should be highlighted is that pipeline-truck oil price differentials for the two halves of the year declined, in favor of pipeline exports, from $15.845/b to $4.701/b. In the meantime trucking transportation costs per barrel was $10 during H2-2017.

This calls for specific research to better understanding trucking export economics; why there was such a significant price differentials, what are the main causes, who are the trucking stakeholders and was there influential political connection with or interests for individuals, groups or parties in KRG and or Turkey.

 

Fourth, Financial Flows

Data provided in this section is probably the most vital for understanding fiscal conditions and performance of the petroleum sector in Kurdistan Iraq.

This section contains 11 items without, as mentioned earlier, comparison, analyses and explanation, except 3 notes on data relating to H2-2017 report.  However, notes provided on the other three sections of this report should be kept in mind.

To avoid possible confusion or mixing-up, I will use the same terminology used by the report as titles for the sub-items of the financial flows, but give and use in the analyses what each term could mean. But I must mention, at the outset, the number of items under this section in Schedule 1 are more, by two items, than those listed in the Q&A part; and again, no explanation was provide. Thus, this is added flaw of the report let be inconsistency or inaccuracy.

 

Gross value of crude oil sold (Piped and Trucked exports) USD

The report uses the above term, which implies valuation, but I will take this as gross revenues; the rationale is premised on the fact that what matters is the stream of revenues (gross and net) from exported (or sold) oil. Evidence is provided by item 10 in this section, which asserts “Net cash balance received..”. So, why Deloitte uses such ambiguous terminology??

Also this item deals with “exports”, but what about revenues from oil and refined product sold and swapped locally (as mentioned in “Oil Exports and Consumption” addressed above)!

 

Gross oil export revenues for 2017 totaled little more than $7.9billion. This would give an average price of $42.338/b.

Comparing these to the corresponding average oil prices realized by SOMO of $49.185/b respectively would give significant price-differentials in favor of federally marketed oil of $6.245/b; a 14.8% price differentials represent voluminous financial losses for KRG economy, which suffers from deep fiscal crisis. Why and what for!?

Deloitte justifies these price differentials this way, “In the case of KRG, a considerable portion of its oil is heavy and sour, which partly explains why it is sold at a discounted price. Competitiveness is another reason, whereby the disagreement with Baghdad and the limited exporting routes has meant that KRG had to render its oil exports more competitive in order to sell its output and generate critical funds for the Region.”

Again, Deloitte conceded to KRG /MNR views without discussing the economic and financial implications of such price differentials on the local economy of the region.

 

Net movement in buyer account balances (excluding advance payments) USD

Probably this item deals with payment made by KRG to what it borrowed from the oil buyers outside the advanced payment arrangements. But how, what deals and which oil buyer? No answer was provided!

This payment was mounted to $634 million and cuts 8% of gross revenues; too much for debt repayment!  

Moreover, Deloitte says nothing regarding the remaining balance of these debts (or estimate the balance of buyer account)!!

 

Interest and other charges from the buyers (USD)

This also represents payment by KRG to oil buyers in interest on debt from these buyers and “other charges”! These “other charges” were explained for the second part of the year only.

KRG paid more than $108million (almost 1.4% of its gross revenues) to oil buyers for “interest and other charges”.

The report mentions $13.2million in H2 2017 as interest charges and fees, but says nothing regarding such payment for the first half of the year; or the rate of interests and the balance of debt.

 

Payments made to oil producers by, or on behalf of the KRG (USD)

This is major item that cuts close to $1.2 billion (or 15.1%) of gross oil export revenues of the Region.

However, the report does not specify why and for what these payment were made: for cost oil, for profit oil, for previous entitlements etc.  Also, which producers were paid and how much for each were not mentioned.

 

Payments made to third parties by, or on behalf of the KRG (USD)

Another major cut of $1.3billion (16.8% from KRG gross revenues) was paid to undisclosed “Third parties”; who are they? How many of them? Where are they? Why did they take such a significant chunk from region revenues?

This is no simple matter; it symbolizes utter secrecy and trivializes and makes mockery of transparency claims that are repeated throughout these reports.

 

Payments made against arbitration settlement (USD)

KRG paid, from its export revenues of the second half of the year, more than $518 million in connection with an arbitration settlement agreement. The report did not disclose the name of the parties to that agreement or total payable settlement; it only says “The total settlement was higher than this amount and the balance was provided from other KRG revenue sources.” Another evidence for lacking transparency!

 

Net cash balance received by the KRG for the period sales USD

In addition to the above, other amounts of $247million were deducted from this year gross revenues, leaving only $3.892billion as net cash balance received by KRG; meaning KRG received only 49.1% of gross revenues.

But KRG received $1.436billion in “Additional advance payments made by buyers against future sales”; thus, the Region’s economy remains stranded in debt-trap by mortgaging future oil sales! Ironically, Deloitte reports and the Q & A part say nothing on these “advanced payments” and their specifics!

 

Concluding Remarks

KRG/MNR used to issue monthly reports the last of which was for October 2016. That practice was ended, paving the way for Deloitte to do the job, presumably better!

After 22 months, Deloitte’s report for only one year adds, if any, very little qualitative or substantive improvements on MNR’ previous reports.

 

What was offered by Deloitte’s reports, like those of MNR, are far below the requirements of known transparency thresholds, e.g. EITI Standard. Hence, claims of transparency by these reports were absolutely not supported by the contents of these reports; too many important data and vital information were not addressed.

 

Deloitte adopts KRG/MNR views and uses data held and provide by KRG/MNR to produce its only one table of data; this surely tarnish Deloitte independency of reporting.

 

When the Region receives less than half of its gross oil exports revenues, this is alarming situation indicating something has been seriously wrong and, thus, should be meticulously addressed in most transparent, truthful and evidenced-based manner. Otherwise, Kurdistan Region’s economy remains stranded in debt-trap through mortgaging future oil sales arrangements.

 

* For work necessities, all references and footnotes were removed

 

Norway

7 August 2018

 

Please click here to download Ahmed Tabaqchali’s full report in pdf format.

 

Mr Jiyad is an independent development consultant, scholar and Associate with the former Centre for Global Energy Studies (CGES), London. He was formerly a senior economist with the Iraq National Oil Company and Iraq’s Ministry of Oil, Chief Expert for the Council of Ministers, Director at the Ministry of Trade, and International Specialist with UN organizations in Uganda, Sudan and Jordan. He is now based in Norway (Email: mou-jiya(at)online.no, Skype ID: Ahmed Mousa Jiyad). Read more of Mr Jiyad’s biography here.

By Ahmed Mousa Jiyad.

Any opinions expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

EITI Suspends Iraq Membership: A Serious Setback For Transparency That Should Be Addressed Promptly And Effectively

The recent decision by the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) to suspend Iraq’s status as a compliant country could, under the already fragile transparency environment in the Iraqi petroleum sector, deal a devastating long-term blow to transparency and wash away ten years of Iraqi efforts.

Therefore, it is a matter of urgency that the Parliament and the Council of Ministers should intervene, forcefully and immediately, to oblige both the Ministry of Oil and the NS-IEITI to comply fully, effectively and in a timely manner with the EITI 2016 Standard, to ensure a positive validation in order to restore and enhance Iraq standing as a compliant country in EITI.

Please click here to download the full report.

Mr Jiyad is an independent development consultant, scholar and Associate with the former Centre for Global Energy Studies (CGES), London. He was formerly a senior economist with the Iraq National Oil Company and Iraq’s Ministry of Oil, Chief Expert for the Council of Ministers, Director at the Ministry of Trade, and International Specialist with UN organizations in Uganda, Sudan and Jordan. He is now based in Norway (Email: mou-jiya(at)online.no, Skype ID: Ahmed Mousa Jiyad). Read more of Mr Jiyad’s biography here.

At its meeting in Manila, the Philippines, the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) Board commended Iraq’s efforts to bring transparency to its oil exports and encouraged the Government of Iraq to make progress on a number of other aspects of the sector.

While recognising the difficulties under which Iraq was implementing the EITI, the EITI Board concluded that additional work was needed to demonstrate adequate progress across the sector in implementing its Standard.

As a result, the EITI Board concluded that Iraq had made inadequate progress overall. Iraq will have 18 months to carry out corrective actions and will be temporarily suspended in the meantime.

Iraq – “potential has yet to be fulfilled”

Efforts to bring transparency to the state’s oil exports, which account for over 90% of budget revenue, have made Iraq a frontrunner in shaping the EITI Standard globally. Iraq was the first country in the EITI to reconcile oil sales on a cargo-by-cargo basis and remains one of the few EITI countries to do so.

Iraq’s publication of information on physical crude oil flows in the domestic market, including supplies to refineries and power generators, is unique in the region. Continued efforts are particularly noteworthy given the security situation in the country over the last decade and the broader political and regional circumstances.

In making its decision, the EITI Board noted that the Iraqi Federal Government will need to lead efforts to extend the transparency that it has brought to its oil sales to the rest of the sector. “Although there is strong potential for the EITI to have a positive impact in the governance of Iraq’s oil and gas sector”, the Board concluded, “this potential has yet to be fulfilled”.

Referring to Iraq’s Validation, Fredrik Reinfeldt, Chair of the EITI, said:

“Iraq has, in many ways, been a regional pioneer in implementing the EITI Standard. We have seen some progress, although there are still challenges that remain to be addressed. Government engagement will be necessary to generate reform and open up the sector.

Moving beyond reconciliation of oil sales

The initial findings and stakeholder consultations that underpin the EITI Board’s decision show that Iraq has struggled to move beyond the reconciliation of oil sales to explain the broader picture in which these payments are made.

According to EITI Regional Director Pablo Valverde:

The EITI has provided a platform for discussions among stakeholders that does not otherwise exist in Iraq, and has generated important debates. It is now time for the EITI in Iraq to build on the progress done on oil sales transparency to bring clarity to the whole of the sector.

Click here to read analysis and implications for Iraq from our Expert Blogger, Ahmed Mousa Jiyad.

(Source: Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative)

By Ahmed Mousa Jiyad.

Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

The Iraq Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (IEITI) published its seventh annual report (Report 2015) on 31 December 2016; a second annual report released in one year after it released its Report 2014 in March 2016 (though the written date was December 2015).

Releasing two annual reports in one year is an achievement by itself, which deserves praise and recognition. Moreover, this is in compliance with the new EITI standard requirement for releasing national annual reports by the compliant countries.

Furthermore, the Report provides very useful updates of and new data on some aspects on upstream petroleum and other petroleum industry sub-sectors.

Report 2015 was prepared, for the first time, by KPMG, the well-known international consulting firm, while the previous six annual IEITI reports were prepared by PwC and E&Y.

I am very grateful to my colleagues at the IEITI National Secretariat and MSG for providing me with copy of the Report once it was approved by the MSG.

Please click here to download Ahmed Mousa Jiyad’s full report.

Mr Jiyad is an independent development consultant, scholar and Associate with Centre for Global Energy Studies (CGES), London. He was formerly a senior economist with the Iraq National Oil Company and Iraq’s Ministry of Oil, Chief Expert for the Council of Ministers, Director at the Ministry of Trade, and International Specialist with UN organizations in Uganda, Sudan and Jordan. He is now based in Norway (Email: mou-jiya@online.no, Skype ID: Ahmed Mousa Jiyad). Read more of Mr Jiyad’s biography here.

By Ahmed Mousa Jiyad.

Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Introduction

Within eight months, between December 2015 and July 2016, the National Secretariat (NS) of the Iraqi Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (IEITI) launched two annual reports (2013 & 2014) and Inception Report 2015, which was made public for the first time.

No doubt that was a remarkable and commending achievement in addition to the regular release of the annual reports since the first IEITI Report 2009 (released in 2011).

But on the other hand, only meager improvement is observed while many serious flaws, inconsistencies, discrepancies and clichés still persists regarding substantive and qualitative contents of these annual reports, comparing with what should and could have been done.

Accordingly, two contrasting possibilities are highlighted in this intervention: the first indicates to “enthusiasm fatigue” combined with important recent developments, occurring in opposing directions and having different implications could shed doubt on the prospects of IEITI and its role.

The second believes that Iraq is the only MENA country with satisfactory standing among the EITI compliant countries and, thus, it could be an exemplary country, which could enhance transparency in the country and promote EITI image for other countries in the region that are or contemplating joining EITI.

Since both of these positions or possibilities have validity and likelihood; and this indicates to a significant degree of uncertainty, I would argue that IEITI current state of affairs could be unsustainable and thus serious thinking and specific measures are needed to revitalize this important transparency entity and make it more effective, proactive and relevant.

This is the second part of my midyear assessment of the Iraqi petroleum sector. The first part was posted 18 July 2016 on IBN website and can be accessed through the following link: http://www.iraq-businessnews.com/2016/07/18/midyear-review-of-iraqi-upstream-petroleum-sector/

In this brief midyear review I will make a few basic remarks on the latest IEITI Report 2014; on the Annual Activity Report 2014; skim through the Inception Report 2015; review Work Plan 2016/18; assess the foggy prospects of IEITI under highly possible opposing developments; and finally make a few concluding remarks.

It’s worth mentioning, at this juncture, that this intervention is part and continuation of my constant follow-up and assessment of IEITI development, its annual Reports, Work Plans and Activity Reports. My assessments of previous annual reports and related interventions can be accessed through my column on IBN’ website on the following link: http://www.iraq-businessnews.com/category/oil-gas/ahmed-mousa-jiyad/

Please click here to download Ahmed Mousa Jiyad’s full report.

Mr Jiyad is an independent development consultant, scholar and Associate with Centre for Global Energy Studies (CGES), London. He was formerly a senior economist with the Iraq National Oil Company and Iraq’s Ministry of Oil, Chief Expert for the Council of Ministers, Director at the Ministry of Trade, and International Specialist with UN organizations in Uganda, Sudan and Jordan. He is now based in Norway (Email: mou-jiya@online.no, Skype ID: Ahmed Mousa Jiyad).