Compliance News / Compliance

Senate Passes Offshore Drilling Pact

Notice of Foreign Payments Included

The Senate passed a bill to implement the U.S.-Mexico Transboundary Hydrocarbons Agreement last weekend. The House passed its version of this offshore oil drilling bill last June. When reconciled, the bill with open 1.5 million acres of continental shelf to oil production.

“We're hopeful that a solution will be worked out between the House and Senate versions of the bill to expand energy development in the Gulf of Mexico that will create new American jobs, lower energy prices, and generate tens of millions of dollars in new revenue,” Michael Tadeo, a spokesman for House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (R-Wash.), told The Hill news service.

The key difference between the two bills is that the House version allows companies waivers from the disclosures mandated by the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial regulation. The exemption was permitted by the House to protect confidentiality and competitiveness. In September, the SEC announced plans to rewrite that section of Dodd-Frank after the regulation was deemed anticompetitive by U.S. District Court Judge John D. Bates, of the District Court of Columbia.

“The SEC reporting rule damages the competitiveness of American companies by requiring businesses to report proprietary information that can be obtained by our global competitors. The rule could cost American jobs by limiting our access to energy resources abroad,” American Petroleum Institute Senior Director of Federal Relations Khary Cauthen explained last June. “U.S. companies are already leading the way to increase transparency in payments made to foreign governments through a project backed by the World Bank and the United Nations.”

 The White House had no statement regarding the Senate’s passage of this pact. In a statement issued last June, after passage of the House bill, it said, “Implementing this Agreement will offer significant opportunities for responsible and efficient exploration and development of hydrocarbon resources in an expanded area along the U.S.-Mexico maritime boundary as well as significant new opportunities for U.S. companies.” 

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