The Team

Johnny West, Founder of OpenOil

Johnny West is a social entrepreneur and writer with 20 years professional experience in and around the oil industry. He began covering energy markets as a Reuters correspondent in the Middle East in the early 1990s.

He has consulted to the United Nations, Revenue Watch Institute, Internews and others on oil and the public policy aspects of the industry and published in the Petroleum Economist, Iraq Oil Report, and Critical Resources as well as more general media like the Guardian and Huffington Post. He is a frequent guest commentator on broadcast outlets such as BBC Radio and TV, NPR, Sky News and Al Jazeera.

Since 2014, Johnny has been awarded a Shuttleworth Fellowship, in order to advance his efforts to bring an open data approach to natural resources.

His book Karama! Travels Through the Arab Spring, is the first book-length account to be published of the events now rocking the Middle East.

Johnny was a Classical scholar to Balliol College, Oxford and attended Georgetown University’s Center for Contemporary Arab Studies. He speaks French and Arabic fluently, has worked in Persian and Spanish and gets by in Hebrew and German.

Contact: johnny.west[at]

Anton Rühling, Programme Manager

Anton Rühling is the Transparency 1 programme manager at OpenOil, overseeing the development of all open data applications, including the contract and concession repository, the Aleph search engine to data mine corporate disclosures, and the mapping of corporate networks.

Before OpenOil, he has gained substantial experience in the development sector and has worked in Egypt, the Palestinian Territories / Israel and Tanzania. His research interests include the extractive industries of MENA countries and in East Africa. He has designed and coordinated workshops on open data, governance, and natural resources with members of civil society and government in Cairo, Tunis and Dar es Salam.

Anton studied Contemporary History and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Freiburg, Freie Universität Berlin and at the University of Alexandria, Egypt. He gets by in Arabic and tries his best with Swahili.

Contact: anton.ruehling[at]

Dan O’Huiginn, Research & Development Lead

Dan O’Huiginn joined OpenOil in early 2015 and has since been leading the creation of the OpenOil API on oil rights, the Aleph search engine to data mine corporate disclosures, and the research on how to put all of OpenOil’s data applications altogether.

Prior to OpenOil, he has been actively involved in numerous investigative and data journalism projects, including Double Offshore, the Investigative Dashboard, and most notably the Panama corporate database, which has been used by financial regulators to recover several millions in taxes.

Dan studied Sanskrit and South Asian Studies at Cambridge University. He has worked in German and reads French and Russian.

Contact: daniel.ohuiginn[at]

Abdullah Haidar, Data curator

Abdullah Haidar has contributed to various OpenOil projects since 2012, with special emphasis on the OpenOil wiki projects. In his current position, he is involved in the curation of the contract and concession repository.

Besides OpenOil, he has previously worked as a consultant for various institutions, including the Tactical Technology Collective and Media in Cooperation and Transition.

Abdullah has studied law at Damascus University, is native Arabic speaker and speaks German fluently.

Contact: abdullah.haidar[at]

Sonia Seidel, Data curator

Sonia Seidel is the newest member to OpenOil and is currently managing the OpenOil mapping programme. As an SQL enthusiast, she is also involved in all database related work.

Sonia holds a bachelor’s degree in East Asian art history and Chinese studies.

Contact: sonia.seidel[at]

Amrit Naresh, Research Consultant

Amrit Naresh has been a research consultant for OpenOil since October 2011. He has been involved in the OpenOil wiki projects with a special emphasis on East Africa and Iraq, and has contributed advocacy work on the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) in the United States. He also blogs on each of these topics. He has led MediaWiki trainings in Baghdad and Kampala, as a consultant with Uganda Radio Network (URN).

Amrit graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles with a BA (Hons) in Comparative Literature and German Intellectual History.

Contact: amrit.naresh[at]

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