TotalFinaElf, a major French oil company operating in Angola, has attempted to shed light on its operations in Angola by stating this week that it had turned over "precise technical and financial information" to the IMF and the World Bank. However, the move was criticised by the British environmental NGO Global Witness, campaigning for greater transparency in the Angolan oil industry, as not going far enough. Oil is Angola's largest revenue earner. "This clearly looks like an attempt by TotalFinaElf to take credit alongside (the oil multinational BP) for transparency in Angola", Simon Taylor of Global Witness said in a statement this week. "It is good that they are cooperating with the IMF and the World Bank, but that is the bear minimum that should be expected of them - in fact of all oil companies operating in Angola. It is laughable to suggest that this constitutes providing key data in the public domain". "TotalFinaElf stated that they had nothing to hide about what they are doing in Angola. If this is the case, and since BP have shown that data can be published, why is the company trying to claim credit for doing the absolute minimum - they should publish this information in the public domain," said Taylor. In a letter dated 6 February to Global Witness, BP Group Managing Director Richard Olver said that it would be publishing data regarding its total net production in Angola, aggregate payments by BP to the state oil company Sonangol, and total taxes and levies paid by BP to the Angolan government. In response to the BP letter, Global Witness said the "statement gave rise to further questions for which Global Witness is seeking clarification". "At least we have heard a response from TotalFinaElf - in comparison to the deafening silence from the rest. The question to ask now is: When will we hear from the other key companies in Angola such as Exxon-Mobil, Chevron, Texaco, Norsk Hydro, Statoil, Shell, Agip, Petrobras, Petrogal, Sonangol and the rest, about whether they are prepared to publish key data that should be in the public domain about their operations in Angola?" Taylor asked.
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