The EITI and Zombie Transparency: what next for Azerbaijan?

One of my favourite catchphrases thrown around last week at the sixth EITI global conference was ‘zombie transparency’. Not a reference to jetlagged scenes over EITI Board meetings, as suggested by one Board member, but to the danger of implementing countries sleep-walking through the box-ticking exercises required by the standard, while contributing little to meaningful more »

Oil and Stability in Azerbaijan: cracks begin to appear.

There are some big decisions to be made by investors in Azerbaijan’s oil and gas sector this year, with up to $30 billion at stake at the Shah Deniz Stage 2 gas development, planned to come on stream in 2018.  Statoil is fretting about political uncertainty in the EU. But it and other investors should be more »

Category: Azerbaijan, Blogs, BP · Tags:

A tale of two giants: SOFAZ, SOCAR and the EITI in Azerbaijan

Some time ago I wrote about my initial bewilderment at the Azerbaijani government’s touting of its EITI record, given a personal experience of the country very much at odds with everything that the EITI stands for. Of course, the debate will always come back to the troubles of a broadly successful global mechanism overburdened with high more »

Category: Azerbaijan, Blogs, BP, CIS, EITI, Transparency, Uncategorized · Tags:

Lost in the pipeline: transparency and the “transit curse”

Bloggers in the world of energy came to accept some time ago that our topic matter, while it might get us hot under the collar, is going to be hard to sell to the wider world as a sexy topic. But judging by the ridicule of my colleagues at the prospect of writing a blog more »

Category: Azerbaijan, Blogs, BP, EITI · Tags:

The everyday face of Azerbaijan’s “rentier state”

There is endless theorising around the ‘resource curse’ from a birds-eye perspective, from creeping inflation rates to weak institutions and grand corruption. But on the ground in an oil-dominated society like Azerbaijan the phenomenon of ‘rent-seeking’ can lead also to a deeply embedded rentier culture visible on the level of everyday interactions.

‘Cite du Petrole’: A Rare Snapshot of Big Oil’s Glory Days

The glossy “corporate social responsibility” pages of an oil major’s website are a heroic but stilted effort to resist the barrage of hostile public opinion towards ‘big oil’ (boo ,hiss), an industry which has become a byword for underhand dealings, pilfering and dishonesty.  However it has taken the discovery of little-known documentary Cite du Petrole to remind more »

Category: Azerbaijan, Blogs, CIS, Companies, Uncategorized · Tags:

Is the EITI helping or hurting Azerbaijan’s civil society?

Questions over the efficacy of international transparency mechanisms crop up in the most unexpected places – no really! In this case in an almost unbearably smoky bar in Berlin two weeks ago.  Having recently moved to the city I was intrigued to learn that an annual gathering of Azerbaijani civil society activists was taking place on more »

Category: Azerbaijan, CIS, EITI, OpenOil blogs, Uncategorized · Tags: