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 »

Category: Blogs, BP, Companies, OpenOil blogs · Tags:

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:

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:

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:

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:

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:

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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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:

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:

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…

Scraping the Barrel… 8 August 2012

Today’s barrel scrapes include: the Colombian government’s attempts to clean up the mining industry despite opposition from, well, everybody; how Kurdish statehood should not be taken as a given following their new oil profits; and we highlight model contracts and mining regulations made available online from the Extractive Industries Sourcebook project. More below…

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

Scraping the Barrel… 7 August 2012

As today’s barrel scrapings reveal: Joseph Stiglitz ponders how to make a blessing out of a resource curse, a Twitter vigilante gets a nervous oil market to jump, and the two Sudans make (tentative) progress on their oil dispute. Below the fold for more…

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

Scraping the Barrel… 6 August 2012

Today’s barrel scrapings include: Nigeria continues its struggle with illegal refineries costing them over $1 billion a month, letters published by the KRG gives us a sneak peek into how they are wooing Big Oil, and what obstacles lay before Israel in exporting the bounty of the East Med natural gas bonanza? See below for more…

Scraping the Barrel… 3 August 2012

Today’s barrel scrapings include: how it’s okay to be a successful private investor in China as long as you’re not too successful, that some Canadians are looking enviously towards Norway for lessons on how to deal with their petroleum wealth, and a blast from the past via a 1956 American Petroleum Institute propaganda cartoon . more »

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

Scraping the Barrel… 1 August 2012

As today’s barrel scrapings reveal: there’s more to the Indian power outages than the government would have you believe, oil companies carve out a new country in Iraq, and natural gas gluts the energy market. See below the fold for more…

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

Scraping the Barrel… 31 July 2012

In today’s roundup we look at whether ‘independent academic reports’ backing fracking in the US are actually produced by Big Oil in disguise; the debate around a groundbreaking report which puts Peak Oil to rest once and for all, and finally, how Bob Dudley’s woes at BP look set to continue for a while yet.

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

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:

Why oil must be on the agenda in Rio

You don’t often hear the words “oil” and “development” in the same sentence. And if you do, then more often than not the discussion revolves around the discourse of the “resource curse” – the discovery of oil offers a guaranteed route to corruption, violent conflict, environmental degradation, exploitation of local peoples and, well, downright misery. more »

The IMF and oil – it’s the politics, stupid! (Jazeera)

There’s virtually a petro-politics story a day right now. If it’s not the two Sudans on the verge of war, it’s a sudden resurgence of economic nationalism in Argentina, where the government gave Repsol 15 minutes to pack their bags, or economic growth slowing in India because there’s not enough coal, or even arguments over whether an independent Scotland would more »

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