BHP Billiton

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BHP Billiton is the world's largest diversified metals company, producing oil, coal, iron ore, copper, aluminium, uranium and diamonds. In 2010 it attained a profit of $13bn. Its corporate structure is complex, controlling 462 subsidiaries, 20% of which are incorporated in 'High Opacity' nations or states, where legal obstacles impede the ability to investigate payments and production figures.[1]

Hiding a fifth of its taxes secret

Piping Profits, published Publish What You Pay (PWYP) Norway in 2011, revealed that BHP Billiton holds 20% of its 462 subsidiaries in 'High Opacity' nations or states such as the US state of Delaware, the Netherlands or Bermuda. PWYP defines Secrecy Jurisdictions as: "places where among many other advantages for companies requiring secrecy, company accounts and beneficial ownership details are not publicly available."[1]

Though BHP Billiton does subscribe to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), PWYP argues:[1]

This information [of EITI] is useful for holding governments to account but is insufficient to gain a true and accurate picture of the operations of the profit generating elements within an EIC.

This is because no one outside senior executives within EICs – and perhaps the politicians and officials where resources are extracted – can be certain:

1) how much oil, gas or minerals a particular subsidiary owns;
2) how much oil, gas or minerals it has produced in any given year;
3) how much revenue and profits it makes;
4) how much tax and royalties it pays; or
5) what investment and other incentives it enjoys.

Until now it has never been established how many subsidiaries the world’s biggest EICs own and where they are based. It has also never been fully appreciated how many EIC subsidiaries are located in jurisdictions where it is hard, if not impossible, to gauge a financial understanding of these conduits – so-called Secrecy Jurisdictions.

It is important to understand the entire operational picture of an EIC in order to determine whether it is acting in line with socially accepted corporate accountability

norms or standards that the EIC has pledged to meet.

Board of Directors Feb 2012

Revolving door

Lobbying and PR firms


See SourceWatch BHP Billiton


Address: BHP Billiton Limited
BHP Billiton Centre
180 Lonsdale Street
Melbourne Victoria 3000
Phone: (61) 1300 55 47 57
Fax: (61 3) 9609 3015
UK Corporate Address:
BHP Billiton Plc
Neathouse Place
London SW1V 1BH
United Kingdom
Phone: (44 20) 7802 4000
Fax: (44 20) 7802 4111


Company Fact Sheet


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Nick Mathiason, '[1]', Publish What You Pay Norway, 19 September 2011, accessed 30 September 2011
  2. BHP Billiton website. About Us Board of Directors Accessed 21/02/2012
  3. The Advisory Committee on Business Appointments Ninth Report 2006-2008 Advisory Committee on Business Appointments, accessed 4 November 2014
  4. Agency Register September to November 2014 PRCA, accessed 25 March 2015