Indigenous oil companies in Nigeria: business is good, but is governance lacking?

Sixty years after Shell and BP first struck oil in the Niger Delta, multinational companies still produce more petroleum than local Nigerian companies do. But the long, fitful process of indigenizing the industry – a national priority since the 1970s – has finally, unmistakably, taken hold. In Port Harcourt, the steamy Delta oil hub, I saw more »

Gas flares, blackouts and the paradox of Nigeria’s energy problems

The other night on a flight from Port Harcourt to Lagos, I saw what a gas flare looks like from the sky. Against a black backdrop, I counted flares by the dozens – giant, violent looking plumes of burning gas illuminating the night sky. I was struck by the darkness between the flares: I saw more »

Category: Africa, Blogs, Nigeria, OpenOil blogs · Tags:

Big Data decoding Big Oil: Nigerian corporate networks

Last month in Lagos, we brought together activists from the tech and oil worlds for a hackathon on the extractive industries of Nigeria. A hackathon, in the lexicon of computer geekery, is what happens when people pool their research, programming, hacking skills to solve a problem or investigate a particular subject, sometimes over a period more »

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 more »

Category: Africa, Blogs, Companies, EITI, Nigeria, OpenOil blogs · Tags:

So what stops Kenya publishing its contracts?

The World Bank has just recommended among other things that Kenya should publish its oil and gas contracts. The government could modify the terms of its contracts, said the consultants from Challenge Energy, to allow publication and create greater transparency. Great! Except… the copies of the model contract we find show no obligation to keep more »

Category: Africa, Blogs, OpenOil blogs · Tags:

Briefing 1 of 5: South Sudan’s extractive industries in ten minutes

OpenOil and Cordaid are publishing a series of policy briefs about the oil, gas and mining industries of South Sudan, Colombia, DR Congo, Guatemala and Nigeria. The briefs are written for the people directly involved and aim to improve the quality of the public debate about the industries. The first policy brief is on South more »

Egypt: when is a subsidy not a subsidy?

Energy subsidies are without doubt one of the main problems of Egypt`s ailing economy. Officially accounting for 20 percent of Egypt’s budget, the government has proposed a long list of subsidy reforms (the latest being a smart card reform) as it struggles along to pay its bills – or not at all with the Egyptian more »

Category: Africa, Blogs, Egypt, Subsidies · Tags:

An open letter to the Mozambican government

Following is an open letter to Esperanca Bias, Mozambique’s Minister of Resources, on the occasion of Mozambique’s accession to the EITI mechanism. It is jointly signed by OpenOil and the Center for Pubic Integrity, a research institute and NGO based in Maputo. Dear Minister Bias, This year, 2013, is of unprecedented importance in ensuring good more »

Category: Africa, Blogs, Mozambique, OpenOil blogs · Tags:

Oil and corruption in Uganda: the foreign donors’ plight

If this had been the UN, we might have sent a strongly worded statement to the Norwegians. They were absent from a forum in the heart of Africa on the corrupting effects of oil, an affliction for which Norway, more than any other nation, seemingly knows the cure. It wasn’t the UN – it was more »

Is Sudan’s government complicit in a gold rush from thin air?

And then gold came, all of a sudden. Industry figures put Sudan’s gold production as four tonnes in 2009. Sudanese government figures have jumped that to 41 tonnes of gold last year, worth about $2.5 billion. Though how they know that, since he also says that most of that is outside any kind of government more »

Category: Africa, Blogs, OpenOil blogs, Sudan · Tags:

Invitation to an open discussion in Cairo, Sunday, April 7th

This Sunday, April 7th in Cairo, OpenOil invites all journalists and activists working on the extractive industries in Egypt to an open discussion: “Civil Society & the Egyptian Oil & Gas industry – how can we drive Transparency in the Digital Age?”

Category: Africa, Blogs, Egypt, Middle East, Transparency · Tags:

What do we REALLY know about the Niger Delta?

Nigeria is possibly the world’s best known exemplar of Resource Curse. There are – literally – coffee table books of poor people covered in oil with polluted lakes and gas flares behind them. I have one. There’s even something a little disturbing about the degree to which the Delta has become disaster porn, a morality more »

Category: Africa, Blogs, EITI, OpenOil blogs · Tags:

What’s at stake in Uganda’s oil bills?

It’s been seven years since Uganda first struck oil. But the stuff still isn’t flowing and won’t be for a while, even though a landmark oil bill finally passed in December and many in the government are eager to start pumping. If you’re part of the Ugandan equivalent of the ‘drill baby drill’ crowd – more »

Category: Africa, Blogs, Oil laws, Uganda · Tags:

South Sudan is surviving without oil — barely

About a month ago, President Salva Kiir said South Sudan’s oil production would restart in a week. Famous last words, it turns out – not a drop of crude has come through the pipeline since. It’s not that there’s no urgency: at the time of the shut-down in January, the government relied on oil for 98% of more »

From Kampala – Uganda oil wiki launch in 3…2…1…

We’re excited to be launching our latest oil wiki, the Uganda Oil Almanac, today at the Hotel Africana in Kampala, Uganda. Starting now, the first open source reference for the Ugandan oil industry will be housed on the website of the Uganda Radio Network (URN), at URN have taken ownership of the wiki and more »

Category: Africa, Blogs, OpenOil blogs, Uganda, Wiki · Tags:

Uganda seeks a refined place in the oil world

The other day in Kampala my boda-boda swerved around a truck headed west on a highway in the city’s outskirts. The trailer had PETROLEUM FOR EXPORT stenciled in faded letters on its side. As we shot past the big transporter barreling down the road, I wondered – Uganda isn’t producing oil yet. What is it doing exporting… more »

Category: Africa, Blogs, OpenOil blogs, Tullow, Uganda · Tags:

How an oil dividend might be possible in South Sudan

OpenOil continues its’ series of analyses on the possibility of oil dividends commissioned by the Center for Global Development As South Sudanese is about to resume it oil production soon, we have tried to model the possibility of an oil-to-cash dividend for the newly independent state. The thinking, as ever, in a direct distribution is more »

Petro-politics in Uganda: get-rich-quick won’t pay

What does an oil sector in its infancy look like from the inside? Our researcher Amrit Naresh is in Kampala, Uganda for three weeks working with Uganda Radio Network to launch a new wiki on Uganda’s oil. This is the first in a series of blogs he’ll post while there. At a pub Monday night more »

Category: Africa, Blogs, OpenOil blogs, Uganda, Uncategorized · Tags:

Oil contracts in Uganda

Blog contributed by Lynn Turyatemba, a participant in next week’s contracts booksprint. Lynn is a lawyer by profession with a leaning towards social justice. She has for the last three years, while working with Africa Institute for Energy Governance (AFIEGO) as the Extractives Industries Governance Officer, worked closely with all stakeholders in the oil and more »

Upstream Petroleum Contracts: Where the “Rubber Hits the Road” in a Petroleum Regime

Blog contributed by Jay Park, a partner with Norton Rose, who will be one of the ‘sprinters’ in our booksprint initiative to write “How to Read and Understand Oil Contracts”. Zara Rahman’s recent blog post described OpenOil’s initiative to do a ‘booksprint’ to write a book about “How to Read and Understand an Oil Contract”.  more »

The two Sudans play the biggest game of poker in the world

The facts are simple but brutal: in response to a dispute over pipeline fees, the world’s newest country South Sudan stopped producing oil in February because the only way to take it to market was through the pipeline to the north, through Sudan, the country they had just seceded from. Then there’s the interpretation of more »

Category: Africa, Blogs, OpenOil blogs, South Sudan, Sudan · Tags:

The story of Niger, or how not to have an oil boom while your people starve

There can’t be many countries who face famine as their GDP rises by 14%. Yet that is the situation in the West African state of Niger, where the World Food Program, the International Red Cross, Oxfam and other humanitarian agencies launched appeals this week to help some 400,000 people now at risk from severe malnutrition. more »

Category: Africa, Blogs, Niger, Uncategorized · Tags:

Niger’s oil comes online while its people risk starvation

There can’t be many countries who face famine as their GDP rises by 14%. Yet that is the situation in the West African state of Niger, where the World Food Program, the International Red Cross, Oxfam and other humanitarian agencies launched appeals this week to help some 400,000 people now at risk from severe malnutrition. more »

Category: Africa, Blogs, Niger, OpenOil blogs · Tags:

Wanted: no-win, no-fee lawyers for Somalia

Contract renegotiations are in the news again. The Economist ran a feature recently on restive governments all across Africa imposing windfall taxes and seeking friendlier outcomes from a bunch of oil and mining contracts. And Africa’s growing number of early stage oil producers, like Uganda, Ghana, Mozambique, Kenya, and maybe even Liberia raise the concern more »

Category: Africa, Blogs, OpenOil blogs · Tags:

Wiping the blood from our hands? Assessing the Dodd-Frank Act

Our smart phones, laptops and tablets connect us to the rest of the world in all sorts of ways, yet according to the director of the film Blood in the Mobile, Frank Poulsen, we might be more connected than we care to believe: “I knew there was a war in Congo, but I didn’t know more »