Running the Numbers: ADB and OpenOil launch report on government modeling

Geneva, 19 October 2017 – The African Development Bank (AfDB) and OpenOil, a Berlin-based financial analysis firm, have jointly produced a new report on how African governments use financial models to manage oil & gas and mining projects. The report was launched at the 13th Annual General Meeting of the Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals, more »

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Yaoure tax holiday costs Cote d’Ivoire $120 million

The publication of the financial model of Yaoure gold mine shows what can be done: both in the tricky area of what tax incentives offer, and in terms of building government analytical capacity. OpenOil, with support from the German Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ), worked with colleagues from Cote d’Ivoire’s Ministry of Mines to build more »

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Where are your country’s oil projects on the “Climate Change Supply Curve”?

The latest report from Carbon Tracker Initiative, a non-profit analysis house in London, suggest that up to a third of currently planned oil and gas projects may now never go ahead because of climate change policy. In “2D of Separation”, CTI presents the potential risks to shareholders and investors in the world’s largest fossil fuel more »

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Reputable Mining Investors Wanted in Sierra Leone: How to Improve Integrity Due Diligence in Mining License Management

On the first anniversary of the Panama Papers, the National Minerals Agency (NMA) of Sierra Leone wants to know who they are doing business with. The NMA is the government agency responsible for issuing mining licenses. Beny Steinmetz of Simandou fame, is one such mining investor who has prompted the NMA to strengthen integrity due more »

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Is Tanzania’s export ban a high stakes game of poker with Acacia?

OpenOil’s Excel model on the Bulyanhulu mine  is available to view the workings of the conclusions in this post.  Tanzania’s decision to impose a ban on concentrate exports from its mining industry has gained wide coverage among industry watchers. The question is: what does the government hope to achieve with it, and what will companies’ more »

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How to build a robust model with almost no data

After doing the OpenOil training I had to choose a project I was interested in modeling. The joint venture between YPF and Chevron to exploit shale gas and oil in Vaca Muerta (South West of Argentina) was the obvious option. It had been all over the news, since the U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA) had more »

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Vaca Muerta-Loma Campana model

The Vaca Muerta-Loma Campana project is an unconventional oil & gas development located in the southwest of Argentina. It started operations in 2013. Developing the latent Stage 2 model from solely total figures was a challenge Andres Knobel successfully went through. This page contains the Vaca Muerta-Loma Campana Fiscal Model, the accompanying narrative report, and more »

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El proyecto estrella de shale en Argentina implicaría miles de millones de dólares en subvenciones

Fuera de Estados Unidos, el mayor proyecto de shale en el mundo se ubica en la cuenca de Vaca Muerta, en Argentina. Este no es viable bajo las condiciones de mercado y suposiciones vigentes, a menos que el gobierno de Argentina esté dispuesto a mantener subvenciones en petróleo y gas de hasta 9 mil millones more »

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Argentina’s flagship shale project would need billions of dollars of subsidies

The largest shale project in the world outside the North America, in the Vaca Muerta basin in Argentina, is not viable under current market conditions and stated assumptions – unless the government of Argentina is prepared to maintain oil and gas subsidies of up to $9 billion. That is the leading result of the model more »

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Indonesia: model + new EITI data = answers on how mining regime is applied

No single issue dominates the third model in OpenOil’s collaborative series with partners, that of the Batu Hijau copper and gold mine in Indonesia (model and project documents), with Maryati Abdullah (interview) and Rizki Ananda (interview) of Publish What You Pay Indonesia. But, like all of the models, there were a number of interesting findings more »

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Five reasons to model at the project level

The portfolio of models OpenOil is releasing with partners are all at the project level. Normally speaking, this involves building a view of the financial flows for the investor and government from a single mine or oil field. But of course modelling can be applied at the macro-level as well, seeking to address questions like: more »

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Brazil’s $90 billion Libra field in trouble – says public data

We are delighted to publish the first in our series of open financial models to be produced with teams from government, civil society and the private sector from all over the world – using only publicly available information Brazil’s Libra field has been the subject of intense public interest since the deal for it was more »

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Press Release: Mongolian Government Unlikely to Receive Dividends from Oyu Tolgoi until 2035

Press Release For Immediate Use Berlin, 26 October 2016 – Oyu Tolgoi is the biggest foreign investment in the history of Mongolia, but the country probably won’t get any dividends from its direct stake in this massive mining project for at least another twenty years — if any at all. That’s according to a first-of-its-kind research more »

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More and more oil & mining companies are factoring Brexit into forecasts

In anticipation of and in the weeks after the vote by the UK to leave the European Union, Brexit has increasingly been factored into the economic forecasts of the extractives industry, our research of financial reports filed to regulators globally shows. We can examine this reporting trend across the oil, gas, and mining sectors. The trend began more »

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BP publishes Payments to Governments Report

With the coming into effect of the European directive on mandatory disclosures in the extractive sector in the UK and France, this year will see the publication of entirely new data by major players in the mining, oil and gas industries. Companies have to publish their payments to governments, the nature of the payments and more »

Aleph and beneficial ownership: working up from the ground

Within the EITI process, the issue of beneficial ownership has gained momentum. After a successful pilot phase to which 11 countries voluntarily signed up, the 2016 EITI standard now requires all 51 implementing countries  to ensure that companies disclose their beneficial owners. These are early days, however, and so far reporting on beneficial ownership is more »

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Video: “An Inventory for the World: How the Climate Change Agreement Changes Everything”

The Paris agreement is a game-changer. Now that world leaders have agreed – finally – to do something about climate change at the end of 2015, everything changes in terms of the way we exploit natural resources. To manage that agreement, we need an inventory of the world and everything in it – in open more »

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The Panama Papers, corporate filings and the “bad guy” / “sharp guy” issues

Oil geek question: what do ConocoPhillips, Halliburton and Schlumberger have in common? Well… they all share the fact that they have, or at least at one point had, Panama incorporated subsidiaries. So why is that, if Panama isn’t actually producing any oil, as the U.S. Energy Information Administration states on their website? With the Panama more »

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How do mandatory disclosures relate to EITI figures?

This year’s introduction of mandatory disclosures in France and the UK will bring about a considerable amount of reports listing extractive companies’ payments to governments. The mandatory disclosures promise increased transparency, however, we are only at the beginning of a debate on how to best make use of the new data. One idea has already more »

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Aleph Worshops

Berlin, April 26th Workshop Information London, April 29th Workshop Information SIGN UP FORM We invite you to join in on two workshops organized by the OpenOil team where we will invite participants to learn more about open data on the extractive industries and how to search and dig out information from the Aleph search engine. more »

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Using Aleph: 5 tips and tricks to find out about what extractive companies tell their investors

Every week thousands of pages are filed by extractive companies to stock exchanges across the globe, containing valuable information on oil, gas and mining operations worldwide. Through such disclosures, investors, regulators and researchers can update themselves on any listed company’s financial situation, the economics of particular oil or mining projects, newly signed host-government contracts, changes more »

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Let’s not make the Paris Agreement the “Elephant in the Room”

In my first post I referred to how the Paris agreement mentions transparency, which in the text is confined to transparency around carbon accounting and the disbursement of the huge financial aid that is an integral part of the agreement. Neither of which relate directly to transparency of the upstream in extractive industries, which is more »

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COP21 & transparency: the page just got a whole lot bigger

What does the climate change deal signed in Paris mean for transparency in extractive industries? In the short term, relatively little. In the medium to long term however it could change everything: which natural resources are subject to transparency, how far public policy will intervene in the market, and whether we moved to a more more »

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Introducing Aleph: everything companies tell investors, in one place

Part I: why collect corporate filings? Can the world understand oil and mining companies as well as their investors do? We think it’s possible, and we’ve been hard at work building a tool to make it so. Our goal is: everything extractives companies tell investors, in one place. The result is Aleph, our new search more »

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Is a 12% interest rate by Glencore to itself in Mauritania “normal”?

Glencore has a 79% stake in an iron ore project at Askaf North in Mauritania, via its 88% owned subsidiary Sphere Resources, which is incorporated in Australia. Sphere states in its 2014 annual report that it took a loan from Glencore at an interest rate of 12% per annum for the project. Separately, in March more »

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The open data map of oil concessions extends to 18 countries in the Middle East

OpenOil is happy to announce the second stage of the world’s first open data map of oil concessions – the Middle East and North Africa. The addition includes 18 jurisdictions across the region, from Oman and Iraqi Kurdistan in the east to Algeria and Morocco in the West, making a total now of 53 jurisdictions more »

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Apply now for online training in financial modeling of extractives!

OpenOil is pleased to announce an online training for financial modeling of extractives projects. Sign up now to learn the basics of how to model revenue flows, investor returns and fiscal regimes of oil and gas projects! Beginning on Friday November 13th, there will be five weekly Google Hangouts which walk through models of a mining more »

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An Open Data Concession Map of the World – Part I, Sub-Saharan Africa

For the past year, OpenOil has collected oil concession data from all continents as a contribution to what we believe holds the potential to revolutionise natural resource management across the globe: an open data framework around the extractive industries. Today, we are pleased to announce its next evolution – the first open oil concession map more »

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What happens when you can search 30 million words of oil contracts?

OpenOil today releases the fourth version of the contracts repository. As my colleague Anton Rühling writes, there are another 83 contracts, from 29 countries, and some interesting material around the Brazilian state oil company Petrobras, currently at the middle of major corruption scandals. But along with the new contracts comes a feature we hope will more »

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Core Petrobras Field tops new entrants to the repository, now 800 contracts strong

It’s almost been a year since we have first launched the OpenOil contracts repository and we are happy to today announce our fourth update: 83 new full-text agreements, including new host government contracts from countries such as Colombia, Egypt, Libya, Mongolia, Portugal and most notably Brazil, taking the total past the 800 mark. As we more »

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Putting open data all together – the Tanzania pilot

For the past year, OpenOil has researched various aspects of open data on extractive industries. First we looked at corporate mapping – creating a network map of BP’s 1,200 subsidiaries across 84 countries with our colleagues at OpenCorporates. Then, with PWYP in Canada, we searched systematically for contracts disclosed by companies, which led to the more »

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Why include private entity contracts in a governance database?

If you’re interested in public governance of the extractive industries, why bother with so-called “auxiliary” contracts, those between two private entities? In a word, because they may be useful. The third edition of OpenOil’s contract repository contains over 100 contracts relating to oil production in 30 countries. They include sales agreements for oil and gas, more »

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Repository 3rd edition release – 723 contracts from 72 countries

We are happy to announce the third edition of the contracts repository, with 200 new contracts and 18 new countries. The repository now totals 723 contracts from 72 countries. One feature of the new release we are excited by is the inclusion of what we call “auxiliary” contracts – those signed by two private oil more »

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Come and get it! OpenOil publishes first open API for oil rights

OpenOil is pleased to announce what we believe is the first open API applied to oil extraction rights around the world: the 20,000 “blocks”, “fields” and “concession areas” (we’ll get into naming problems a little lower down) from some 69 countries involving some 2,142 unique corporate structures as operators and contractors. We hope this Application more »

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Shell, BG, and keeping the lights on in Tunisia

What it would be really interesting to know is: how far is Tunisia’s government aware today that it will shortly have a new business partner in keeping the lights on in the country? The announcement that Shell is acquiring the BG Group is certainly global business news. A result of falling oil prices and higher more »

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Public interest modeling is the entry point, not the grand finale, of transparency work

Models are powerful tools. So powerful in fact that the discussion of whether they should be unleashed into the public space has sometimes been accompanied by a discussion of the “dangers” of doing so – reminiscent of the first debates around the idea of transparency itself. General thinking has been that models are a stage more »

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Modeling: Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good

I opened this series by saying that public interest models of extractive industry projects did not serve only the purposes financial models have been used for to date but had, in addition to their analytical function, the three other main functions of pedagogy, advocacy and strengthening government support. In this post I will focus on more »

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The four functions of public interest models

We, and others, have made the case before that open financial models is the natural next stage of extractives governance. First, because you don’t know what you’ve got til its modeled, and secondly, the models themselves must be open to allow the cumulative learning that is really important for independent expertise to take hold. In more »

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Governments: don’t agree to renegotiate over falling prices

“If we see a demand to renegotiate a contract because prices have dropped we know one of two things has happened: either the contract was mis-specified in the first place. Or the company is just trying it on!” Paul Collier this week, at the opening of the Connex initiative in Berlin to support developing countries more »

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Total’s affiliate list sheds little light on what really matters

Total today announced it has published what looks like a relatively comprehensive list of its affiliate structures around the world. Some 902 affiliates incorporated in 99 jurisdictions and operating in 117 jurisdictions around the world. It is interesting reading, if you are an open data geek. Some company structures definitely seem as though they yield more »

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The concession layer: 12,500 concessions, 2,000 companies, 41 countries

Oil geek question – how many concession blocks are there in Africa? (Answer below) Transparency has won big victories in its 15 years or so of life as a movement. EITI got going and spread to 50 countries. Companies and governments agreed some transparency was a good thing, and the national security argument that prevailed more »

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OpenOil repository: 524 oil contracts from 56 countries, one click away

(MEDIA RELEASE) BERLIN, Tuesday, November 11 – OpenOil and its partners on Monday launched the world’s first comprehensive archive of oil contracts. Some 385 host government contracts from 54 countries are now available with one click. The repository includes contracts which govern oil production in many countries where disclosure has largely been unknown, such as more »

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Open contracts, closed models

How Can Economic Modeling Improve Extractive Sector Governance? The potential for economic modeling to improve extractive sector governance is beginning to get the attention it deserves. Economic models are already a key tool in “behind the scenes” decision making for companies and, increasingly, for countries as well. Existing modeling efforts however suffer from two serious more »

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You don’t know what you’ve got until its modeled

More contract disclosure will not necessarily result in greater understanding of the economic implications of fiscal terms. The terms only become meaningful when their interactions are understood alongside relevant national tax laws and regulations. So to make real sense of the economic implications, the fiscal terms must be considered under varying scenarios of production, price more »

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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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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 »

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Of Bad Guys and Sharp Accountants

As I mentioned before, we had no particular reason to seek to map BP in particular. We were simply conducting an experiment into how much could be known about a major multinational from its own public filings. In trying to keep track of oil and mining industries, there are two particular issues that could be more »

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Mexico’s oil reforms: transparency now or never?

A few weeks ago we released the Spanish translation of Oil contracts: how to read and understand them, which we hope will bring some degree of clarity to the subject for our friends in Latin America and elsewhere. The publication is timely, coming just as one of the region’s most important petroleum producers, Mexico, pushes more »