Books and Reports

Running the Numbers: How African governments model extractive projects


Running the Numbers.

This report explores how African governments use financial models to manage oil & gas and mining projects. Jointly produced by the African Natural Resources Center of the AfDB and Open Oil, the study begins with the simple notion that no investor would ever approach an investment decision on an extractive project without the backing of a comprehensive financial model.

Such a model would link expected production profile, prices, capital and operating expenditure and corporate tax rates to the projected cash flow of the project and its profitability. The authors conducted a survey of nearly 50 government officials to illustrate how widespread use of financial models is and how their results are used to inform policy.


Oil Contracts: How to read and understand them


Understanding Oil Contracts.

In late October 2012, OpenOil gathered a group of world class oil experts and professionals to jointly write a book which explains how to read the contracts which govern the industry. Borrowing a crash production technique known as a “book sprint” facilited by Adam Hyde of, the group produced “Oil Contracts: How to read and understand them” in just one week.

Since publication, the book has been downloaded over 100,000 times, translated into five languages and has been used by institutions such as the government of Nigeria, Royal Dutch Shell and numerous law firms.

English version ||   French version ||   Spanish version



Mining Contracts: How to read and understand them


Understanding Mining Contracts.

In December 2013, a diverse group of 14 experts from Africa, Asia, North and South America, and Europe worked together for five days to produce a user-friendly guide on “Mining Contracts: How to Read and Understand Them,” to help policy makers, civil society, citizens, and the media understand the often complex and opaque terms of mining contracts.

The organisation issuing this book are International Senior Lawyers Project (ISLP), OpenOil, the Vale Columbia Center on Sustainable International Investment (VCC), and Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI).

English version ||   French version



Mapping BP: Using open data to track Big Oil


Mapping BP.

The story of what happens if you try to put together a “system view” of a giant global corporation from their own public disclosures. By pulling annual returns and other filings the BP Group files around the world, the OpenOil team compiled a network graph of 1,180 affiliates in 84 jurisdictions in layers of ownership going 12 deep.

The essay discusses what the data set shows, what it doesn’t show, how such corporate maps could be built in an open data space, and what the implications are for the future of corporate governance.


Oil Almanacs: Open source reference for extractive industries


Oil Almanacs.

Since 2011 we have been building a library of country-by-country Oil Almanacs treating all aspects of the extractive industries in producing countries across the Middle East, Latin America and Africa. Crucially our guides are fully referenced to reliable public domain sources, each containing hundreds of references, and adhere to a neutral point of view throughout.

As we “white-label” our publications, print runs can be commissioned and any guide branded or co-branded for the purposes of an event or for use in your organisation. Alternatively, we can build out guides to countries not yet covered by our range in a short time frame. Using print-on-demand services, the books could be on your desk, or dropped into conference bags, within weeks. We are also able to produce our guides in e-book form.

Library of Public Interest Financial Models

OpenOil and partners have published a series of project economic models for oil and mining projects, following OpenOil’s standardized open-­source approach to financial modelling, with which we have set out a paradigm for how modelling should be adapted for public financial management, and developed both classroom-­based and online training courses and related support material.

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