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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

How not to address gender inequality in the oil sector

Along with 40-50 other women, and 5 or so men, I attended the Women in Industry session at the World Petroleum Congress in Doha a couple of weeks ago. Speakers at the session were all in leadership positions in the industry, a couple from a technical engineering background, and others from a management perspective. I more »

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Facial metal or hejab – who’s a natural ally in the transparency movement?

You’re sitting at a gate in an international airport (as I am now) and, just as a parlour game, you’re looking for the transparency constituency among your fellow passengers in oil-producing country X. There are two people from that country sitting straight opposite you on the seats, grimacing through the barely intelligible announcements of delayed more »