Call for contributions: next generation oil governance
OpenOil is launching a project to map the corporate supply chain in the oil sector, combining Big Data techniques and collaboration with domain experts on the ground. We are piloting this approach in Nigeria and invite you to join us.
An article from the Petroleum Economist last week was a reminder of just how much supply chain has mattered for shale oil and gas development in the United States, and this is true everywhere. Project development depends on the nature of the service companies and other entities up and down the supply chain. But the taxonomy of this industry is an undercovered part of the value chain in extractives governance.
This is the first of three blogs we’ll be posting as the Next Generation Governance initiative progresses, and we’re interested in your ongoing feedback. If you’re working on corporate supply chain issues in the oil sector, we want to know what you’re doing, whether you are in Nigeria or elsewhere.
Our approach is designed to be compatible with the new global standard of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), which includes company disclosure of beneficial ownership as a core recommendation for implementing countries, of which there are currently 39. We are also exploring the possibility of geo-mapping contract areas by coordinates, which EITI requires in its country reports, to see what connections might be drawn between a contract area and social or environmental issues, for example.
But our main focus at this early stage is on supply chains. Here’s how the project works. Preliminary public domain data scrapes have found references to hundreds of companies operating in the Nigerian oil sector, from the upstream, midstream and downstream sectors, including service, finance and transport companies. So far we’ve found, for example, that the ownership network of the service company Tuboscope Vetco Nigeria Limited goes six levels and three countries deep. We’ve also noted the presence of many maritime companies, hinting at the growing importance of Nigeria’s offshore oil sector.
Now that we have the raw data, we need to do two things. First, in the next couple of weeks, see if we can cross-fertilize with other public domain data sets, such as media scrapes and research documents, to see if we can establish relationships between those companies – who owns who, who has a contract with who, who serves on the board of which company. And second, to work with global and local domain experts to confirm or reject the leads offered by the pattern seeking on the raw data.
Ultimately, we aim to put in place a process which can be maintained and extended by interested parties in-country, to keep an up-to-date guide to who’s who in the Nigerian industry.
We are working with two global level technology partners: with OpenCorporates to map the beneficial ownership structures, and with the Open Knowledge Foundation to layer the other types of relationships on top of that. We are also in contact with potential Nigerian partners on the ground.
All this scraping, scrumping and dataset hunting will culminate in a ‘data expedition‘ on the weekend of November 30, which you can participate in from anywhere in the world. We’ll bring together oil experts, global governance activists and tecchies – people with interest and experience working with data – to start applying these datasets to the real world.
The data ‘explorers’, as the School of Data who pioneered the method calls them, will start drawing connections between datasets to discover what stories this data can tell. We will see what the data can teach us about companies or individuals in the news recently, and may dive into a deeper investigation of one or two entities which seem particularly interesting.
Most important to us, though, is that the project galvanizes civil society in its efforts to improve governance of the oil sector, in Nigeria and elsewhere. So we invite you to join us no matter where you are. If you are interested in learning more about the project or relating your experience working on supply chain issues, email project coordinator Amrit Naresh at email@example.com.