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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The IMF and the world’s oil industry (Jazeera)

Berlin, Germany – The US and Israel are threatening to bomb Iran, and, even without and before that, petrol prices are nudging back towards the historic highs of 2008. Brent already stands at $125 per barrel, and we know from the last commodity boom that it can’t go much higher before a lot of poor more »

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EITI in the US: the invisible empire of oil (Part 3)

Growing up in Louisiana, the fourth-biggest oil producing state in America, I pretty much took the oil industry for granted. It was everywhere, of course. I saw the sprawling refineries, heard about the jobs created and the oil occasionally spilled, but it was so omnipresent that I almost didn’t notice it. Like someone from Paris more »

Niger’s oil comes online while its people risk starvation

There can’t be many countries who face famine as their GDP rises by 14%. Yet that is the situation in the West African state of Niger, where the World Food Program, the International Red Cross, Oxfam and other humanitarian agencies launched appeals this week to help some 400,000 people now at risk from severe malnutrition. more »

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EITI in the US: why only on federal lands? (Part 1)

The US sign-up last September to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) was met with widespread acclaim by international civil society groups. But EITI implementation in the US applies only to federally-owned lands, responsible for about 30 percent of oil and gas production, and not private or state-owned areas, where most US oil is produced. more »

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Wanted: no-win, no-fee lawyers for Somalia

Contract renegotiations are in the news again. The Economist ran a feature recently on restive governments all across Africa imposing windfall taxes and seeking friendlier outcomes from a bunch of oil and mining contracts. And Africa’s growing number of early stage oil producers, like Uganda, Ghana, Mozambique, Kenya, and maybe even Liberia raise the concern more »

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Iran out of ideas

Sanctions may or may not hit Iran’s oil industry hard, that remains to be seen. According to some their impact so far has been devastating; others have called them ineffectual and misguided. In fact, though, they may represent simply the last wave of a perfect storm of factors hampering the growth of an industry the whole Iranian more »

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Wiping the blood from our hands? Assessing the Dodd-Frank Act

Our smart phones, laptops and tablets connect us to the rest of the world in all sorts of ways, yet according to the director of the film Blood in the Mobile, Frank Poulsen, we might be more connected than we care to believe: “I knew there was a war in Congo, but I didn’t know more »

A Pop Culture of Oil Primer

Panel discussions at global hydrocarbon summits are more likely to center on enhanced recovery techniques and fractional distillation than they are on music videos by Mos Def or an avant-garde oil painting in Paris. But even oil wonks, steeped as they are in the minutiae of oil policy and economics, cannot overlook the indelible ‘soft’ 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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