Blog

Interviews, background on NRGI research and training events and up-to-the-minute analysis by staff and experts from around the world.

Poor governance and systemic corruption are prevalent in many resource-rich countries. Given their highly concentrated and highly profitable nature, the oil, gas and mining industries can generate the kind of political and private incentives that favor rent-seeking and institutional (or state) capture.

For the first time since it won in 1990, the National League for Democracy (NLD), led by Aung San Suu Kyi, will be contesting a general election. (The NLD won 43 out of 45 seats in a 2012 by-election.) Should the party or a coalition of opposition parties win, Myanmar will have its first majority civilian government in Myanmar in 53 years.

Lack of transparency about complex, often secretive structures. Clandestine, opaque relationships with government officials. These factors exacerbate the risks that beneficial owners of some extractive companies could easily engage in tax evasion, transfer pricing, trade mispricing, bribery, contract fraud and money laundering.

When we think about the “resource curse,” one oft-cited example is oil-rich Venezuela. Despite copious petroleum reserves, people in one of Latin America's top hydrocarbon producers queue for hours outside supermarkets to buy staple foods, and now cite food shortages as a bigger concern than crime.

During the oil boom years earlier this decade, rising petroleum subsidies in importing countries such as Tunisia and Egypt were a constant strain on budgets—and so the collapse in oil prices has produced nuanced challenges for state-owned oil enterprises (SOEs) in both countries.

For Indonesia, lower commodity prices have had mixed results. Government revenues from oil, natural gas coal and other minerals have fallen, but lower prices have also helped the Southeast Asian net importer.

NRGI experts will speak at three events at this year’s International Anti-Corruption Conference, in Malaysia, all on Thursday, September 3.

Crystol Energy founder Dr. Carole Nakhle discusses the changing contractual and fiscal environment for producer countries – particularly in the MENA region – amid a lengthy oil slump.

Nigeria's President recently announced that former ExxonMobil executive Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu will head the national oil company, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). Eight top NNPC officials were sacked, and the head of crude oil marketing was “reassigned.” A list of fresh appointments soon followed.

In June NRGI’s regional office in Eurasia brought together more than 25 multi-stakeholder group (MSG) members from five countries for a collaborative training session on analysis of Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) report data. The training took into account a number of EITI reports expected by the end of year.

Less than five years after the surge of optimism that accompanied first oil, Ghana’s economic situation has rapidly worsened. Ghana is now often cited as a cautionary tale of how not to manage public finances.

Extractive industry governance and the role of state-owned enterprises across sub-Saharan Africa are squarely in the spotlight after three huge scandals.

Myanmar’s citizens have the potential to benefit from the country’s endowments of oil, gas, and gems, but governance of these industries has been historically problematic and so many actors are pushing for change. Last month, NRGI staff began working with EITI stakeholders in Myanmar on a new project that will use the Natural Resource Charter to help build consensus on priorities for extractive industries reform.

During a June parliamentary hearing, Tunisia’s minister of industry, energy and mines shared previously undisclosed details regarding Tunisia’s resource sectors. He provided production, foreign investment and revenues figures. He announced the imminent launch of an open data platform that would give citizens access to updated extractives industry intelligence...

One of the principal aims of the NRGI research and data team is to encourage and facilitate the use of data to promote accountability and transparency. To that end, the team is developing a suite of data tools to collect, analyze and present publicly available data in a user-friendly manner...

Another year goes by and the elation we felt is like a distant memory. Five years ago today, on 21 July 2010, President Obama signed the Dodd-Frank Act into law, and all those who support a genuinely open natural resource sector hailed an important provision contained in the huge financial reform bill.

Ghana’s petroleum industry has undergone massive changes in recent years. Discoveries of commercial quantities of oil in the Jubilee fields in 2007 have triggered significant growth in Ghana’s petroleum sector and brought hope that petroleum resources will yield meaningful benefits for Ghana’s people...

Johnny West, founder of OpenOil. discusses working recently, as a consultant for the Natural Resource Governance Institute, with Tunisian government officials to prepare their open data portal focused on the country's oil and gas industry.

Managing public expectations is one of the toughest challenges that governments face now that commodity prices have dramatically declined. A gathering earlier this month in Tanzania brought together public officials from 15 emerging producers to discuss the implications of the price drop on their strategies.

Bad practices have kept the West African nation from operating competitively and transparently in oil and gas. Important regulatory agencies including the NNPC are considered weak and unaccountable. The newly elected government has some heavy lifting to do to enact real change.

A largely bureaucratic legislator outside ministry control take the reins. The Southeast Asian nation could also create a new, non-operating state-owned enterprise that would participate in projects and operate alongside Pertamina, the state oil company. Whatever path the country chooses, allocating policing responsibilities is essential.

Since its launch in 2002, the EITI has improved revenue transparency in many regions. So far, nearly 40 countries have released some 140 EITI reports detailing the receipt of extractive revenues by governments from oil, gas and mining companies. In 2013, implementing countries adopted a new reporting standard, releasing even more detailed information.

Headlines about resource-rich economies faltering under crashing commodity price pressures fill the news. "Venezuela in a bind as Nicolas Maduro faces default dilemma" warns the Financial Times. "Alberta premier considers sales tax to fix ailing, oil-based economy" says the Canadian Press. "Iran says it can no longer afford Ahmadinejad's cash handouts" reports the Guardian...

On 20 April, Luis Arce Catacora, Bolivia’s economy minister, spoke at the University of Chicago, about “The Model That Changed Bolivia's Economy,” which, he said, explains how Bolivia has been able to sustain a five percent annual economic growth rate over the last decade.

Negotiating complex mining deals can be challenging for resource-dependent countries under any circumstances. But commodity price volatility adds an additional challenge to the mix, as Mongolia’s recently concluded renegotiation with Rio Tinto on the Oyu Tolgoi project illustrates.