What does an oil well look like from space?

This is what a small oil well in the Niger Delta looks like from space. Strange, isn’t it? We can’t see the rig, and in fact the most prominent feature from above is the produced water reservoir. It is a satellite well feeding into this gathering station, known as the “Ogabe Base” – which is more »

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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:

OpenOil is looking for partners to analyse oil contracts around the world

Are you looking for a way into promoting transparency and public understanding of your country’s oil and gas contracts? At OpenOil we are looking for partners to work with across the world to take the conversation around contracts to the next level by beginning to examine oil contracts country by country, working with model contracts. more »

Category: Blogs, OpenOil blogs, Uncategorized · Tags:

The price of oil: bad news for the Middle East (Jazeera)

The oil markets are feverish again because of events in Syria, Egypt and Libya. There is talk of $150 per barrel and dire predictions about what that all means for the future. But let’s take all that with a pinch of salt. First, because markets are uncaring beasts and if past experience is anything to go by, more »

Category: Blogs, Middle East, OpenOil blogs · Tags:

Could al-Qaeda have helped Yemen kick its oil habit (Jazeera)

Had the thwarted al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) attack on Yemen’s oil industry succeeded, its impact would have been immense. This country of 25 million people now suffers greater dependency on oil exports than its neighbour Saudi Arabia, although it produces 50 times less. A generation ago, when Yemen didn’t know it had oil, the country’s biggest source more »

Category: Blogs, Middle East, OpenOil blogs, Yemen · Tags:

Energy Sector Reforms in Mexico: A Catch 22

Whatever changes Mexico’s energy sector will take, they will be radical compared to the status quo. At least this is what one might think, having followed Mexico`s energy reform debate since 2008 and president Nieto’s announcements following his ascent to power in December 2012. The wind of change to Mexico’s heavy crude is blowing. I more »

Category: Blogs, Latin America, Uncategorized · 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 »

Could al-Qaeda have helped Yemen kick its oil habit (Jazeera)

  Had the thwarted al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) attack on Yemen’s oil industry succeeded, its impact would have been immense. This country of 25 million people now suffers greater dependency on oil exports than its neighbour Saudi Arabia, although it produces 50 times less. A generation ago, when Yemen didn’t know it had oil, the country’s biggest more »

Category: Blogs, Middle East, OpenOil blogs · Tags:

Libya: oil and revolution – a tale of two generations

Young people started Libya’s revolution, young people fought and young people finished it. Now, almost two years after Tripoli’s liberation, their role in this new nation they helped create is unclear. Some of them have started radio stations to bring a little more exposure to the outside world. Others are active in a bustling civil more »

Category: Blogs, Contracts, Libya, OpenOil blogs · Tags:

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:

How Saudi Arabia could end up importing oil

I was somehow surprised when Saudi Arabia’s Economy and Planning Minister Mohammed al-Jasser announced last week that their rock-bottom fuel prices, some of the lowest in the world, are after all a serious problem that needs to be dealt with. “This has become an increasingly important issue as these subsidies have become increasingly distorting to more »

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 »

‘One level up’ is EITI sweet spot for beneficial ownership

This is post is cross-posted at the EITI blog As there was a lot of talk around beneficial ownership within the new EITI standard, we thought we’d try and model what it could look like. It’s one of those thorny issues. Civil society wants it, corporates often state their belief that it is a heavy more »

Category: Blogs, OpenOil blogs, Uncategorized · Tags:

Egyptian oil – looking through the rumour mill

On first appearances, the fact that there appears to be abundant information about Egypt’s oil and gas sector would seem like a sign of transparency, a well managed information dissemination system allowing citizens to know what is going on with their extractive industries. Under more scrutiny, however, it reveals the opposite. The information available contains more »

Category: Blogs, Middle East, Transparency, Wiki · Tags:

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:

Why a spaghetti ball makes subsidy reform in Egypt hard

Egypt is in deep troubles – its fuel subsidy bill is unsustainable reaching almost 30 percent of government expenditure, its foreign reserves have reached a critical level ($13,5bn), negotiations with the IMF are not running well, and there is, literally, no money left to finance its consumption of subsidised fuel, particular diesel which is already more »

Category: Blogs, Dividends · Tags:

Support the creation of open source financial models

We’ve just submitted a proposal to the Knight Foundation News Challenge, based on creating open source financial models for published contracts. Find out more about our proposal here — http://kng.ht/13UCfwJ – and if you think having access to open source spreadsheets, to help you and others model revenue flows based on key terms in oil more »

Category: Blogs, Contracts, Transparency · Tags:

A world in which carbon taxes are a given…

I was invited to speak at a conference last week at the London School of Economics Energy Society. It’s always great to be among smart people who have the time to think, and, inspired by academia, I found myself perorating about how the work we do at OpenOil is in perfect accord with the actual more »

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Introducing the Arabic language Libya wikiguide!

We’re happy to announce we have a new addition to our Wiki Guides family – an Arabic language translation of the Libya Oil Almanac. To the best of our knowledge, it is the first Arabic language guide to the Libyan oil industry, and it joins our other Arabic language wiki for Iraq, also the first more »

Category: Blogs, Iraq, Libya, Middle East, Wiki · Tags:

Fossil fuel subsidies – let’s at least agree on how to measure them!

At OpenOil we’re researching fossil fuel subsidies because we want to join the global debate on how to end them. They will cost about $600 billion this year, are a massive drag on the development of green energy and mostly serve the rich. There really is very little to be said for them. But it more »

Category: Blogs, Dividends, OpenOil blogs · 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:

Facing climate change with “peak oil” down

News just in – Big Oil rebutting Peak Oil theory. Is this really news? Well, I think so. If you’re reading this, you’re probably already familiar with the debate. In one corner, we have some environmentalists and Peak Oil-ers, declaring that the world’s oil production has peaked, holding pictures of nice, aesthetically pleasing Hubbert’s Curve, more »

Category: Blogs, Companies, Oil 101, Reserves · 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 oil.ugandaradionetwork.com. URN have taken ownership of the wiki and more »

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

Best practice as defined in Libya’s oil contracts

In case you were worried about best practice being followed in the oil industry around the world, we’ve been reviewing Libya’s contracts for some research and came across this, embedded in the main EPSA IV agreements between the Libyan state and all the major oil companies of the world. 1.33 Good Oilfield Practices means those practices, more »

Beirut- a tale of two conferences

Last week, I attended two conferences, both related to the oil industry. The similarities between the two were clear ; both relating to the extractive industries, held in Beirut, a focus on the MENA region, but the differences were astounding and revealed a huge amount to me about potential pitfalls in the campaign for good more »

How to end fossil fuel subsidies without hurting the poor (Jazeera)

Imagine there was a way to cut carbon emissions which saved everyone money, left the poor better off and freed up public funds for spending on things like health and education, which paid for itself, required no capital intensive investments in new or smarter infrastructure, relied entirely on existing and proven technologies, and in fact more »

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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 »

(Re)-introducing OpenOil

Since our official beginning in September 2011, our way of fulfilling our mandate here at OpenOil has evolved considerably. The main principle is the same; we work on resource curse issues, trying to ensure that citizens of resource rich countries can see the benefits from their natural resources. However, despite beginning as a purely research 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:

Petroleum Development Opportunities in Libya after the Arab Spring

Blog contributed by Jay Park, a partner at Norton Rose, and a contributing author of “Oil Contracts- How to read and understand them”. The echoes of the Arab Spring still resound in Libya.  At an oil conference I attended in Tripoli in late September, Libyan speakers began their presentations by honouring those who had been involved more »

Category: Blogs, Contracts, Libya, Middle East, OpenOil blogs · Tags:

How did we write a book in a week?

As you may already have seen, our “Understanding Contracts” booksprint was a success, and the book is now available for download from the OpenOil site. I had the chance to see the sprint from the start, and as you can imagine, it was a fascinating process.

Category: Blogs, Contracts, Oil 101, OpenOil blogs · Tags:

Oil Contracts- How to Read and Understand them- out now!

We are proud to announce that the first book about oil contracts for non-experts, “Oil Contracts – How to Read and Understand them” – is out now! Get your free copy of the book! It was written in a five-day booksprint by a group of corporate lawyers, government negotiators and development specialists. Please excuse typing more »

Category: Blogs, Contracts, OpenOil blogs · Tags:

Protected: KRG Talisman Tax Provisions Take 2

There is no excerpt because this is a protected post.

Category: Blogs, Booksprint Texts · 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 »

Are accountants the most important people in Big Oil?

It’s always been a mystery to me why cost recovery, the process by which oil companies claim back billions of dollars in expenses from the governments of countries where they operate, is not formally part of EITI requirements. If EITI is supposed to capture all ‘material’ revenue flows between the companies and governments, why would more »

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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 »

Why oil companies won’t get out of bed for less than 50 to 1

We often hear, in general terms, about how the oil industry is driven by the risk-reward dynamic. It lies behind the vexed question of what is a fair government and oil company take: governments say oil companies are ripping them off because they make billions on big fields, companies reply that they need those margins more »

Category: Blogs, Contracts, OpenOil blogs · Tags:

How to read and understand oil contracts

As some of you may know, at the end of October, we at OpenOil will be convening a group of world class experts to write a book on how to understand oil and gas contracts, aimed at the non specialist. We believe this will be the first book to open the process of oil and more »

Damn right it’s about the money!

So maybe our interest in contract negotiation business is about money after all. Last week, I read two different figures in such different contexts that at first I didn’t think to put them together. First, while sorting out some papers I was listening to an old lecture by Jeffrey Sachs from the middle of the more »

Category: Blogs, Contracts, OpenOil blogs · Tags:

If Dodd-Frank took so long… is US EITI in trouble?

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has finally voted on the implementation of oil and mining transparency rules in the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory reform bill, more than a year after the original deadline came and went. Good news, to be sure, since tough financial disclosure rules are better late than never. But the delay more »

Scraping the Barrel… is on holiday!

To our daily news review followers… Scraping the Barrel is on a short summer hiatus. We’ll be tweeting interesting stories from @Open_Oil as usual, and will have some new content for you upon our return- a list of our Top 20 Oil Blogs amongst other titbits.

Category: Blogs, Daily news reviews, OpenOil blogs · Tags:

How 150 million people went missing in India (Jazeera)

About 150 million people went missing in the media coverage of India’s power crisis this week. Reports spoke of the 600 million people affected by the blackout across India’s north and east as cities plunged into darkness for two nights in a row – and the high priests of capitalism worried about the effect on what is more »

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Scraping the Barrel… 10 August 2012

As today’s barrel scrapings reveal: Russia’s oil industry evolves (but no, Putin is not loosening his iron-fisted grip) and big, sagging economies look set to push down on oil prices. Read below for more…

Category: Blogs, Daily news reviews, OpenOil blogs · Tags:

Scraping the Barrel… 9 August 2012

Today’s barrel scrapes include: a duplicitous tale of one man against the establishment in post-oligarch Russia; oil majors deepen the Arab/Kurd fault lines in Iraq; and Robin Mills shines a light on the way forward for Indian energy security. More below…