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Energy Companies Lagging On Dodd-Frank Implementation: Report

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Big banks aren't the only companies dragging their feet on Dodd-Frank rules.

A majority of oil and gas executives polled in a recent survey say their companies have not yet begun to take the actions required by Dodd-Frank, even though most say they believe the Dodd-Frank rules apply to them.

Only 28 percent of respondents told Grant Thornton that they expect to be exempt from requirements in Dodd-Frank, the landmark financial regulation act enacted in 2010. Yet a far greater number of respondents -- 65 percent -- said they haven't yet begun to undertake the documentation and disclosures that Dodd-Frank mandates.

That would put the energy companies roughly on par with the regulators tasked with writing the rules in the first place. Those regulators have missed about three-quarters of their deadlines so far, according to a report earlier this year from the law firm Davis Polk.

And banks seem to be in no rush to adopt the new rules either. Indeed, they've lobbied vigorously against Dodd-Frank, spending record amounts to water down key reform measures and argue for major exemptions.

The poll, from the consulting and accounting firm Grant Thornton, is concerned with what are known as "upstream" energy companies -- the firms involved in finding and recovering energy sources, in this case oil and gas.

While Dodd-Frank is best known as an attempt to regulate the financial sector -- and, its supporters say, prevent another large crises -- its ramifications stretch into other sectors.

One place where the legislation could effect a major shake-up is in the energy sector, where companies frequently trade over-the-counter derivatives -- the risk-shifting financial instruments believed to have played a major role in the 2008 meltdown.

Under Dodd-Frank, energy companies that deal in derivatives could be required to trade them through a clearinghouse, a centralized institution that advocates for reform say would help increase accountability and prevent risky deals.

The rules in Dodd-Frank could also require energy companies to become much more transparent about what they're trading, where their assets originate, and what they're paying to foreign governments in the course of gas and oil exploration, according to a separate report from Grant Thornton published in 2010.

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