Joint Interest Auditor Code of Conduct
Upon recommendation of the Joint Interest Audit Committee of PASC, this Joint Interest Auditor Code of Conduct has been developed. Key reasons for implementing this Code of Conduct are:
- Provide a standard document as a visible reminder of auditor obligations in the audit process;
- Address the issues and concerns driving the request for confidentiality agreements; and
- Reduce the administrative burden on all companies and auditors. Further to reducing administrative effort, the PASC website includes a registry of those auditors who have signed off on this Joint Interest Auditor Code of Conduct including confidentiality (see Appendix 'A').
There has been much variation in the content and form of confidentiality agreements being used and many do not adequately recognize the facts of the audit environment. Some confidentiality agreements conflict with existing agreements or modify rights and obligations under existing agreements. Through review of many samples and the related law and agreements, PASC identified several aspects that needed to be addressed or highlighted in this Code of Conduct.
There are already confidentiality provisions and discussion about the information accessible to joint operators in the governing PJVA agreements or the CAPL agreements, for example.
Proving cause and effect is very difficult and an offending party can be sued without a confidentiality agreement in place, so at best, the existing confidentiality agreements are an administrative reminder of the auditors' obligations to keep information confidential. It is preferable for this reminder to be more visible with less administrative burden; hence this PASC Joint Interest Auditor Code of Conduct was developed.
It is PASC's expectation that operators will rely on this auditor registry rather than continue to create individual confidentiality agreements. This can save the operator, its associates and auditors considerable time and effort while still achieving the desired benefits.