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

After the 2011 Tunisian revolution, the country’s population was bombarded with news about corruption in the natural resource sector. (Tunisia produces oil, gas and mainly phosphates as minerals.) However, coverage remained shallow and sometimes politicized.

The third anniversary of the unjust imprisonment of NRGI advisory council member Ilgar Mammadov comes at a grave inflection point for Azerbaijan. The government, made wealthy by Caspian oil deposits, is now on its knees due to cratering oil prices.

Indonesia’s petroleum and mining sectors helped power the country’s transition to middle-income status. As considerable drivers of Indonesia’s annual economic growth, extractive industries contribute about a third of exports and state revenues, generate hundreds of thousands of jobs, and fuel the growth of non-resource-based industries.

China has been included in the Top 10 list of foreign investors in Indonesia since 2014. As in many other countries, China’s interest in Indonesia is in its energy and mining sectors; more than half of its total investment has been directed toward extractive industries.

Nowhere is the importance – or the challenge – of state-owned economic enterprise management clearer than in the oil and gas sector. While Myanmar’s continued economic opening should attract more investment in this sector, these SEEs already wield outsized influence over public finances.

In November 2015, PWYP members from across Eurasia met in Ulaanbaatar for an NRGI-led training session to discuss common extractives governance challenges their countries face. Shrinking civil society space was a dominant concern.

The prolonged oil slump that began in mid-2014 has made things complicated for Azerbaijan. The rapid decrease of oil revenues—the country’s main economic driver for the past 10 years—poses real threats to macroeconomic and financial stability in Azerbaijan.

While natural resources have the potential to bring development to the poorest countries in the world, realizing that potential is often a challenge. Opaque allocation of rights to extract oil, gas or minerals; secrecy around who really owns the companies doing the extraction; and non-disclosure of contracts often conspire to prevent average citizens from benefiting from their country’s resources.

The global oil press was aflutter late last week with the announcement by Saudi Aramco that it is “studying various options to allow broad public participation in its equity through the listing in the capital markets of an appropriate percentage of the Company’s shares and/or the listing of a bundle its downstream subsidiaries.” This followed an interview released Thursday in which deputy crown prince Muhammad bin Salman indicated that the kingdom was considering such an option in “the interest of more transparency, and to counter corruption, if any, that may be circling around Aramco.”

In this era of low commodity prices, oil- and mineral-rich governments in Eurasia are under acute financial pressure.

The release of the first U.S. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (USEITI) report is both a laudable achievement and an indication that EITI cannot succeed without full accountability for all multi-stakeholder group (MSG) participants.

Ukraine released its first Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative report in December 2015, an important step forward in resource governance for the country. Its publication coincided with the EITI International Secretariat meeting in the country and related events in Odessa and the capital, Kiev.

Ghana’s Minister of Finance recently presented the country’s 2016 budget, titled “Consolidating Progress Towards a Brighter Medium Term.” As the title of the budget reflects, 2015 has been a turbulent year for Ghana’s public finances. One setback was the continued drop in oil prices—a major shock since Ghana has been exporting petroleum since 2011...

NRGI’s blog received tens of thousands of unique visits this year. Below, we share the 10 most-read blog pieces of 2015. From country-specific perspectives to globally relevant policy discussions, NRGI experts offered news, insight and prescriptions over the course of the year.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission voted today on a proposed rule to implement Section 1504 of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act. The law requires US-listed oil, gas and mining companies to disclose the billions of dollars in payments that they make to governments around the world in exchange for the right to extract precious natural resources.

In the last decade, governments of resource-rich countries like Zambia, Guinea and Mongolia have struggled to tax their extractive industries more effectively. It is a tall order—countries must design an inescapable tax regime that taxes companies more in times of high profits and allows some relief in periods when gains are low.

This year, NRGI and EITI Philippines (PH-EITI) partnered to develop contracts.ph-eiti.org, a country site that uses the ResourceContracts.org platform for publishing contracts in an open data format. The collaboration was initiated in May, when PH-EITI participated in the Extractives Open Data Leaders program at the International Open Data Conference in Ottawa.

Improving the impact of Mongolia’s extractive projects is not just about better contracts and proposed legal reforms. It is also very much about effectively monitoring and enforcing existing obligations.

Daniel Kaufmann, president and CEO of NRGI, delivered a video keynote address at the Australian Public Sector Anti-Corruption Conference in Brisbane.

There are close links between politics and the management of extractives such as oil, gas and minerals. Along the extractive industries value chain politicians are involved in setting the legal framework, allocating exploration and production licenses and deciding on the saving and spending of extractive revenues.

Today, Switzerland-based trading house Trafigura disclosed how much it paid to several governments in exchange for commodities in its first annual responsibility report. For decades, physical commodity traders have embraced secrecy as a basic part of their business model, even when dealing with public institutions. The disclosures by Trafigura represent a much-needed step away from this unfortunate tradition. There remains, however, ample room for improvement.

The Open Government Partnership, which launched in 2011, quickly morphed into a popular initiative. OGP membership has grown from just eight countries to 66 participating nations. Many governments and international organizations have given it direct support.

A review recently prepared by a coalition of Azerbaijan non-governmental organizations is unique—it is one of the first deep analyses of that country’s EITI report, and the first based on the new EITI standard.

This photo essay is the sixth installment in NRGI's 2015 extractive industries photo documentary project, which aims to capture the complex political, environmental and social realities at resource extraction sites throughout Myanmar.


With over a decade of journalism experience, Xinhua News Agency senior correspondent Justice Adoboe is far more experienced than the typical NRGI media trainee. In covering the complex extractives space, however, Adoboe said he has room to grow. NRGI trainers, meanwhile, discovered the course itself had to grow and change.