Continuing Education - Ethical relationships between consultant and client
Industry groups, government and individual companies have established various codes of ethics that can apply to petroleum engineering consultants and clients. The Association of Professional Consultants has various guidelines. SPE has a Guide for Professional Conduct. State engineering boards have codes of conduct, such as the Texas Engineering Practice Act.
Some independent petroleum reserves consultants prohibit their professionals from owning interests in oil and gas companies and operations. They will not accept assignments where their compensation is in any way tied to the outcome of projects or to client profits or successes.
In turn, a client should be forthcoming with all information needed by the consultant to do its work. The client should not offer rewards or put undue pressure on the independent consultant to produce favorable reserves estimates. The client should not threaten to pull its business from the reserves consultant because of unfavorable results in the independent study. In a different situation, Enron allegedly applied this type of pressure to Arthur Andersen auditors by threatening to pull business from the consulting side of the firm.The purpose of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act is to develop or restore a transparent, ethical relationship between management and investors. Companies must constantly deal with issues of transparency,
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