Oil boom coming? Don’t tell anyone!

In 2009, a colleague of mine had an idea about how Ghana could innovate using its coming oil wealth. Being pretty well connected, he worked up some research and then flew to Accra for a meeting with the vice-president. He was heard out politely but at the end of his presentation his hosts politely informed more »

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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 »

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 »

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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… 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… 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…

North and South Sudan: 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 »

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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 »

The story of Niger, or how not to have an oil boom while your people starve

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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Syria’s transit future: all pipelines lead to Damascus?

Between the rise of Hafez al-Assad in 1971 and the crisis engulfing his son’s government today, the Syrian energy sector seems to have come full circle. An oil importer in the 1950s and 60s with little production of its own, Syria became a net exporter of oil by the 1980s; it is now a country more »

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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 »

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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 »

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 sanctions risk widening rift between the West and India & China

In the maelstrom of debate around Western oil sanctions on Iran, the impact on the two Asian giants, India and China, has inevitably figured. Commentators have pointed out that Asian markets are likely, in fact, to be the biggest beneficiaries of the EU’s decision this week to impose oil sanctions after July 1 and similar more »

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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 »

Protected: Equitable Oil from Libya

There is no excerpt because this is a protected post.

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Why not give Iraqi citizens oil dividends directly?

The Center for Global Development has published a blog today on our paper suggesting a citizen dividend in Iraq. Using the anticipated rise in Iraqi oil production, we propose a dividend that could have dramatic development and poverty reduction effect, helping Iraq towards meeting several of the MDGs, without cutting into current government expenditure levels more »

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Wordmaps for two natural resource management policies

Sometimes it helps to try and picture things – literally. So here are word maps for two natural resource management policies. The first is from Tom Paine‘s Agrarian Justice, published in Paris during the French Revolution. In it, he proposes a rent on land use 0n the grounds that land naturally belongs to everyone. So more »

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Hidden in plain sight: transparency’s bane of information overload

Are many modern financial scandals “hidden in plain sight”, needles in the haystack of information overload? And if so, do we need to revise the model of transparency we have been working with for the last decade? The incomparable Malcolm Gladwell’s latest book “What the Dog Saw” contains a chapter detailing the uncovering of the more »

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The ambassador, the Post & consultant fatigue – how Afghanistan’s oil stays in the ground

Natural resources have a long and proud tradition of conspiracy theories – with the rider of course that dozens of those theories are true. The CIA really did overthrow the government of Mossadegh in Iran in the 1950s after he nationalised the oil industry by using $100,000 to buy rent-a-mobs on the streets of Tehran more »

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GW’s Sudan report: seizing the margin of transparency

About a year ago, Global Witness issued what was essentially a shadow report on Sudanese oil. It said there was no transparency and called on the great and the good to review their involvement with Sudan’s oil sector: the Chinese because they’re the major foreign partner; the Japanese because they import a lot of Sudanese more »

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Removing fossil fuel subsidies

We are researching the replacement of fossil fuel subsidies with a flat cash dividend.

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We have produced a number of books, including oil almanacs to 15 countries, and an oil data guide.

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Understanding oil contracts booksprint

In late October 2012, OpenOil gathered a group of world class oil experts and professionals to jointly write a book which explains how to read the contracts which govern the industry. You can download the book for free, here.

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  Here at OpenOil we have developed a series of country-level natural resource reference guides. Find out more here

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A couple of oil visualisations using Hans Rosling's Gapminder

Use of Gapminder Motion Charts for oil topics: Big OPEC Reserves Oil and the Human Development Index

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