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 »

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:

Briefing 1 of 5: South Sudan’s extractive industries in ten minutes

OpenOil and Cordaid are publishing a series of policy briefs about the oil, gas and mining industries of South Sudan, Colombia, DR Congo, Guatemala and Nigeria. The briefs are written for the people directly involved and aim to improve the quality of the public debate about the industries. The first policy brief is on South more »

The EITI and Zombie Transparency: what next for Azerbaijan?

One of my favourite catchphrases thrown around last week at the sixth EITI global conference was ‘zombie transparency’. Not a reference to jetlagged scenes over EITI Board meetings, as suggested by one Board member, but to the danger of implementing countries sleep-walking through the box-ticking exercises required by the standard, while contributing little to meaningful 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 »

Egyptian oil – looking through the rumour mill

On first appearances, the fact that there appears to be abundant information about Egypt’s oil and gas sector would seem like a sign of transparency, a well managed information dissemination system allowing citizens to know what is going on with their extractive industries. Under more scrutiny, however, it reveals the opposite. The information available contains more »

Category: Blogs, Middle East, Transparency, Wiki · Tags:

Invitation to an open discussion in Cairo, Sunday, April 7th

This Sunday, April 7th in Cairo, OpenOil invites all journalists and activists working on the extractive industries in Egypt to an open discussion: “Civil Society & the Egyptian Oil & Gas industry – how can we drive Transparency in the Digital Age?”

Category: Africa, Blogs, Egypt, Middle East, Transparency · Tags:

A tale of two giants: SOFAZ, SOCAR and the EITI in Azerbaijan

Some time ago I wrote about my initial bewilderment at the Azerbaijani government’s touting of its EITI record, given a personal experience of the country very much at odds with everything that the EITI stands for. Of course, the debate will always come back to the troubles of a broadly successful global mechanism overburdened with high more »

Category: Azerbaijan, Blogs, BP, CIS, EITI, Transparency, Uncategorized · Tags:

Support the creation of open source financial models

We’ve just submitted a proposal to the Knight Foundation News Challenge, based on creating open source financial models for published contracts. Find out more about our proposal here — http://kng.ht/13UCfwJ – and if you think having access to open source spreadsheets, to help you and others model revenue flows based on key terms in oil more »

Category: Blogs, Contracts, Transparency · Tags:

Lost in the pipeline: transparency and the “transit curse”

Bloggers in the world of energy came to accept some time ago that our topic matter, while it might get us hot under the collar, is going to be hard to sell to the wider world as a sexy topic. But judging by the ridicule of my colleagues at the prospect of writing a blog more »

Category: Azerbaijan, Blogs, BP, EITI · 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:

Facing climate change with “peak oil” down

News just in – Big Oil rebutting Peak Oil theory. Is this really news? Well, I think so. If you’re reading this, you’re probably already familiar with the debate. In one corner, we have some environmentalists and Peak Oil-ers, declaring that the world’s oil production has peaked, holding pictures of nice, aesthetically pleasing Hubbert’s Curve, more »

Category: Blogs, Companies, Oil 101, Reserves · Tags:

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 »

(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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

So what would an oil contracts database look like?

Imagine a world in which extractive industry contracts were routinely published, from Article 1 definitions to Annexes with long lists of GPS data points of contract areas and everything from production sharing splits to management structures inbetween. Imagine the typical corporate arguments of breach of confidentiality agreements and conflict with commercial interest had been trumped, more »

Category: Blogs, Transparency, Uncategorized · Tags:

EITI in the US: leaning on Dodd-Frank (Part 2)

In a blog post last week I asked why the United States’ implementation of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) should be limited to federal lands, responsible for about 30% of oil and gas production, and not cover private or state-owned areas, where most US oil and gas are produced. Today I look in more more »

Iraq’s EITI report shows discrepancies with a KPMG audit

We were running some numbers on Iraq’s first EITI report, published in December, and stumbled on a surprising fact: the reconciliation report carried out by Price Waterhouse Cooper, mapped exactly onto an audit by KPMG of the Development Fund for Iraq accounts held in New York. And yet there is a discrepancy of at least more »

Category: Blogs, EITI, Iraq · Tags:

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 »

Category: Blogs, EITI, Transparency, Uncategorized · Tags:

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 »

Category: Blogs, EITI, OpenOil blogs, United States · Tags:

The missing pieces in Iraq’s first EITI report

The next few months are an incredibly crucial time for Iraq as an implementing country of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). It has until August 2012 to achieve EITI Validation, following the beginning of its candidacy in February 2010. As such, any issues with regards to the activities designed to display their increase in more »

Category: Blogs, EITI, Iraq, Oil 101, Transparency · Tags:

Colombia, KRG, Peru: so where are those “published” Oil Contracts?

There is an ever increasing level of interest in the debate around contract transparency in the global extractives industries, and a growing minority of jurisdictions which have agreed to publish contracts openly. However winning the argument is only the first chapter in the story as I discovered recently looking at Colombia, Peru and Iraqi Kudistan. more »

Why doesn’t the oil industry talk to itself more?

Why doesn’t the oil industry talk more to itself? Or, to be more precise, oil industries, since while of course it’s one global market when it comes to buying and selling, and the flutter of a butterfly’s wing in the North Sea can send Singapore futures soaring, it looks a bit different and slightly more more »

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 »

Iraq’s first EITI report raises as many questions as it answers

Iraq issued its first report under the EITI mechanism just before the New Year and it was circulated last week in English, Arabic and Kurdish. It’s the first formal deliverable in Iraq’s participation in the transparency scheme since it signed up two years ago. Price Waterhouse Cooper reconciled financial reporting from Iraq’s monopoly oil marketing more »

Breaking the mould in the oil industry

If you were to believe the CEOs of Big Oil speaking at the World Petroleum Congress in Doha last month, you would think that the oil industry is in great shape. Every one of them emphasised how great the industry was doing; how the industry is in effect doing the world a great service and, more »

Category: Companies, Oil 101, Transparency · Tags:

Never mind the ‘social’, let’s see some genuine ‘corporate responsibility’

The swipe  at fiscally agile multinationals which gives this post its title comes from Richard Murphy at a recent event held in Brussels for NGOs, MEPs and other stakeholders to discuss the draft transparency directive issued by the European Commission.  The new directive picks up the political momentum created by the US Dodd-Franks legislation passed more »

Is the EITI helping or hurting Azerbaijan’s civil society?

Questions over the efficacy of international transparency mechanisms crop up in the most unexpected places – no really! In this case in an almost unbearably smoky bar in Berlin two weeks ago.  Having recently moved to the city I was intrigued to learn that an annual gathering of Azerbaijani civil society activists was taking place on more »

Category: Azerbaijan, CIS, EITI, OpenOil blogs, Uncategorized · Tags:

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 »

Iraqi & Iranian reserves… mine’s bigger than yours

So, overnight, the world has another 29 billion barrels of oil after Iraq decided to upgrade its proven reserves from 114 billion to 143 billion barrels based on new evaluations of West Qurna and Zubair fields in the south. That’s pretty much an entire year of global demand right there. Although the details are a more »

Category: Iraq, Middle East, OPEC, Reserves · Tags:

How Wall Street reform could affect Iraq's oil industry

One short clause, inserted late in intense negotiations into a US bill to clean up Wall Street just before the summer break, may be about to transform disclosure and reporting rules for extractive companies around the world. Section 1504 of the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, signed into law by President Obama more »

Category: EITI, Transparency · Tags:

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