Global News Journal
Beyond the World news headlines
If Europe’s lobbying register is correct, oil giants like Shell and BP are spending just a few hundred thousand euros a year on EU lobbying, sums that are dwarfed by the millions they spend across the Atlantic.
Europe’s voluntary Register of interest representatives, launched in 2008, shows that Shell and BP spent 400,000-450,000 euros each on lobbying in 2008.
Meanwhile the U.S. Lobbying Disclosure Act database, which companies are obliged to fill out by law, shows that Shell spent $2.3 million on lobbying in 2009 and BP $4.6 million.
This lobbying-cost-saving in Europe is even more of a surprise given that both companies have notched up some significant successes in Europe, such as helping to secure potentially billions of euros for Carbon Capture and Storage technology. NGOs say that kind of lobbying is no mean feat, involving sponsoring expensive receptions and helping to draw up suggestions for EU legislation.
Five years after the U.S.-led invasion to topple Saddam Hussein, Iraq is throwing open its oil sector to foreign oil firms in a way Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and others in the region are reluctant to. Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani says no company will have any special privilege.
Some analysts take a different view. They reckon U.S. and British oil majors are in a strong position to help develop the world’s third-largest oil reserves. Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Royal Dutch Shell and BP head the queue. They have already built up a relationship with Iraq’s oil officials by negotiating short-term technical deals.