Recent Articles

News from Iraq indicates that on July 28 the Cabinet agreed upon a bill establishing a new National Oil Company (NOC), to help develop the country's petroleum and ramp up production to meet the government's pressing revenue needs. The details of the bill have not been released, but a strong commercial company with a clear mandate could be instrumental in the revitalization of Iraq's oil sector. However, this enabling legislation cannot be a stand-alone action. A national company will be doomed to fail if it arrives unaccompanied by core laws to govern Iraq's oil sector.
Carlos Monge, RWI Latin America Regional Coordinator, and colleagues deliver fresh news and insight. Issue August 25 covers debate in Peru over how to ensure that Camisea gas supplies can cover increasing domestic demand; Bolivia's proposal to amend gas contracts with Brazil and Argentina; and Ecuador's service contracts with private companies.
Carlos Monge, RWI Latin America Regional Coordinator, and colleagues deliver fresh news and insight. Issue June 25 covers Ecuador's intensified oil sales; falling hydrocarbon and copper exports in some Latin American countries; and growing numbers of state-owned oil companies seeking financing for their investment plans.
Transparency was at the forefront of discussions on Europe's energy future at the summit on "Natural Gas for Europe: Security and Partnership" in Sofia, Bulgaria this spring. In the Declaration of the Sofia Energy Summit, participating government workers, heads of state and diplomats agreed upon the need for transparency, accountability and improved public financial reporting concerning the energy sector. The Declaration affirmed several principles for natural gas policies in Europe.
On June 26, 2009, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev ended his historic four-day visit to Africa. During his trip, Medvedev and a group of Russian businessmen visited Angola, Egypt, Nigeria, and Namibia. In 2006, Medvedev's predecessor Vladimir Putin visited South Africa and Morocco without generating any visible progress on economic ties between Russia and African countries. However, the situation has changed.
When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the Central Asian country of Turkmenistan was left with substantial natural gas endowments, estimated at between 4 and 14 trillion cubic meters, and a poorly diversified export market for its natural gas. The only pipeline connecting Turkmenistan with its ultimate consumers in Europe runs through Russia and is almost entirely controlled by the monopolistic, state-controlled Russian gas company, Gazprom. 
Though the summer headlines for Afghanistan are likely to be filled with talk of the upcoming elections and debates about troop levels, the Ministries of Mines and Finances will continue working quietly to improve governance and secure sources of long-term revenue for the country.  Over July and August, the Ministry of Mines will be accepting bids from qualified oil and gas companies on three oil and gas blocks in Afghanistan
Issue July 9 covers mining canon resource distribution in Peru; the rising importance of state-owned oil companies in several Latin American countries; and PDVSA's efforts to find financing from bond issue to cover its debts.
In April, a pipeline explosion disrupted natural gas supplies from Turkmenistan to Russia. Though official investigation results have not yet been released, the media has speculated that shrinking demand from Europe prompted the state-controlled Russian gas company, Gazprom, to shut down the pipeline without advanced warning to Turkmen officials. The resulting pressure buildup apparently caused a blast along the Turkmen section of the pipeline, and now some in Turkmenistan are accusing Gazprom of deliberate negligence, and are threatening to seek damages in the international courts.
Carlos Monge, RWI Latin America Regional Coordinator, and colleagues deliver fresh news and insight. Issue June 9 covers falling outputs from Latin American hydrocarbon companies; Ecuador's agreements to increase mining production; and the effects of the rising trend in international oil prices for net exporters in Latin America.
Citizen groups in Azerbaijan have decried two new state oil development contracts signed without public notice, in a reversal of years of commendable transparency in oil negotiations. The deals covering four oil fields were made with a relatively unknown company and in the absence of the financial and training provisions that would normally benefit Azerbaijan in such an agreement.
The IBP, which released its annual Open Budget Index for 2008 this February, has created a new brief exploring the importance of budget transparency for donors, to help ensure the effectiveness of aid to reduce poverty and promote sustainable economic growth while preventing leakages, corruption, and mismanagement.
In a policy briefing on resource revenue management in Ghana, Antoine Heuty of RWI and Andrés Mejía Acosta of the Institute of Development Studies explore how domestic political factors may influence development outcomes through the management of natural resource revenues. Though Ghana is among the world's top ten exporters of gold, nearly 80% of the population lives on less than two U.S. dollars per day.
Corruption is widely perceived as a long-standing and influential component of Nigeria's oil sector operations. In a two-part policy brief published by the U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre which is based at the Chr. Michelsen Institute, Alexandra Gillies provides an introductory mapping of where this corruption takes place, how it impairs sector operations, and the efforts at its reduction. Gillies is a Fulbright Fellow to Nigeria from the University of Cambridge and co-editor of Smart Aid for African Development.
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Revenue Watch Institute today urged policymakers in the United States and abroad to embrace the standards and principles of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). The EITI, whose board meets in Washington, D.C. on Friday, is an international standard for openness in the management of oil, gas and mineral wealth. It calls for cooperation and dialogue among governments, companies, and citizen groups. More than two dozen resource-rich countries, from Peru and Nigeria to Mongolia and Norway, have implemented the EITI to date.
At a meeting last week in Prague, leaders from the European Union and several post-Soviet countries laid the groundwork for a new era of policy cooperation and reform between the EU and Europe's "Eastern neighborhood." The milestone signing of the Southern Corridor Declaration could pave the way for new natural gas import routes from Central Asia that would reduce Europe's heavy energy dependence on Russia and realign the balance of power in the region's energy sector.
Carlos Monge, RWI Latin America Regional Coordinator, and colleagues deliver fresh news and insight. Issue April 21 covers Bolivia adjusting natural gas exports to Argentina; high fuel prices in Latin America; and conflicts over extractive activities increase in Peru.
After statements by Madagascar's newly-installed leader regarding a suspension and review of all national mining contracts, Revenue Watch cautions the nation's leaders against undertaking major extractive reforms during the current period of crisis. On March 30, Andry Rajoelina announced that his government was freezing all mining contracts and had hired auditors to review all agreements.
Carlos Monge, RWI Latin America Regional Coordinator, and colleagues deliver fresh news and insight. Issue April 6 covers Latin American countries' various strategies to mitigate the impact of extractive activity; a partial recovery of mineral and hydrocarbon prices; and obstacles to nationalization initiatives in the extractive sector.
RWI grantee Indonesian Corruption Watch (ICW) has made impressive headway in its monitoring and advocacy for revenue transparency in Indonesia's oil, gas and mining sectors. The extractive industries in Indonesia accounts for over 20% of the government's revenue, but remain largely opaque. When RWI began working with groups in Indonesia two years ago, it was clear that significant work was needed to enhance public oversight and create change within government systems. ICW's progress exceeded all expectations.
Half a dozen Revenue Watch delegates joined over 500 participants at the fourth EITI Global Conference from February 16 to 18, in Doha, Qatar. Representatives from over 80 countries gathered to celebrate the achievements of the initiative thus far, to share experiences of support and implementation, and discuss ways of moving forward. The Republic of Azerbaijan was accepted as EITI Compliant, becoming the first implementing country to pass the EITI Validation process that determines whether an implementing country has met EITI requirements.
The latest confrontation between Russia and Ukraine over natural gas, and the dispute's immediate impact on Eastern Europe's energy supply, illustrated how energy conflicts in one region can extend over pipelines and supply chains to countries thousands of miles away.
This video from Burma reveals the links between ongoing oppression and profits from the oil and gas industries. Revenue Watch grantee the Shwe Gas Movement presents the little-told story of how residents living atop the largest gas deposit in Southeast Asia lack their own electricity and face massive relocation without compensation to make way for a $52 billion gas development.
Carlos Monge, RWI Latin America Regional Coordinator, and colleagues deliver fresh news and insight. Issue March 20 covers Ecopetrol's ambitious investment plan; Ecuador's withdrawal of Acción Ecológica's operating permit; and Peru's consideration of help for Doe Run.
Revenue Watch partner Global Witness has released a new report, "Undue Diligence: How banks do business with corrupt regimes," examining how major banks are playing a role in perpetuating the resource curse by doing business with unethical regimes. Global Witness has uncovered ties between banks and dictatorial regimes in Equatorial Guinea, vicious civil wars in Africa, human rights abusers in Central Asia and opaque extractive companies operating in Angola.