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U.S. oil and gas lobbying groups have doubled down on efforts to negotiate laxer climate reporting rules with an administration bent on tightening these rules considerably, the Financial Times reports, citing lobbying disclosures from the Senate.
"When it comes to climate risk disclosures, investors are raising their hands and asking regulators for more," Gary Gensler, the new head of the Securities and Exchange Commission, said recently, as quoted by the FT. "I think we can bring greater clarity to climate risk disclosures."
The administration's plans prompted some U.S. oil and gas majors to restart their lobbying after years of no such activity, and others to start lobbying for the first time ever. The group of the former includes the U.S. division of BP and ConocoPhilips. The group of the latter includes Baker Hughes and refiner Phillips 66.
"We are having — and plan to have additional — conversations," Stephen Comstock, vice-president of corporate policy at the American Petroleum Institute, told the FT. "The dialogue is good and the questions are solid. So I consider them to be valuable conversations for sure."
The API, according to the FT report, wants the SEC to not oblige oil and gas companies to report climate disclosures in their annual 10k reports because of greater legal liability related to these reports.
An earlier report, by Argus, said that oil companies, among them Conoco and Chevron, had asked the SEC for more flexible rules in climate disclosure reporting.
"E&P companies face different risks and opportunities than do fully integrated companies that market consumer products," Conoco said in comments on the SEC plan for rule-tightening.
"A significantly expanded disclosure requirement beyond the well-established doctrine of materiality could raise serious First Amendment issues," the API said.
"It would be disappointing to learn that companies that have said that they are self-proclaimed leaders in addressing climate change are trying to block common sense disclosure rules on that same issue," Ceres senior oil and gas director Andrew Logan told the FT.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com