The cartography of Acme Corporation and why it matters

When OpenOil approached me with the proposal to contribute to their partnership with OpenCorporates and map out the global corporate structure and subsidiary hierarchy of BP plc, one of the world’s largest oil and gas company, I was enthusiastic. To attempt such a project with a small group of people was as much an methodological experiment more »

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Mapping BP (3): Building a global network one affiliate at a time

The decision to try and map BP’s global network was based on the fact that the company makes many public filings. We didn’t really appreciate quite how many until we had finished. In the UK jurisdiction alone, the BP network we constructed shows 182 affiliate companies. Of these, the 26 which were second tier companies more »

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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 »

Mapping BP (1): taking on the challenge

When Chris lent across the table and said “We need to map one of the Supermajors. My candidate is BP”, I was struck by a number of thoughts at once. First, perhaps aided by a couple of beers, was: how cool is that? Second was, how could a small team of people in one room more »

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When is an oil company not an oil company?

Question: When is an oil company not an oil company? Answer: When it’s a security contractor, a bank, a derivatives trader or manipulator of stock market value… The news this week that Heritage Oil was quietly advertising itself to those in the know as advisers to the new Libyan government, beginning with the advice that more »

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