Recent Articles

In September 2010, economist Edwin Truman published a book on Sovereign Wealth Funds—the range of reserve funds often used by resource rich countries investing revenues internationally. Sovereign Wealth Funds: Threat or Salvation, assesses some of the regulatory concerns and international tensions over these funds. Truman says SWFs have "matured under the glare of international attention." He talked with Revenue Watch about his research.
Carlos Monge, RWI Latin America Regional Coordinator, and colleagues deliver fresh news and insight. In the October issue, Peru-Petro offers blocks for oil and gas exploration and Bolivia's government postpones the release of a critical new report on national gas reserves.
In June, the World Bank published Demanding Good Governance: Lessons from Social Accountability Initiatives in Africa—a collection of case studies from across the continent that showcases citizen campaigns to enhance government accountability and transparency. Revenue Watch's Dauda Garuba and co-author John G. Ikubaje contributed a chapter, "The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative and Publish What You Pay Nigeria," highlighting a lesson in government and civil society cooperation.
The Open Budget Survey 2010, released today in Washington, D.C., reveals that 74 of the 94 countries assessed do not meet basic standards of transparency with their national budgets. The report is produced every two years based on an independent comparison of budget transparency and accountability around the world. The new survey finds that just seven of the 94 countries release extensive budget information, and 40 countries release no meaningful budget information.
The Revenue Watch Index is a pioneering measurement of government disclosure in the management of oil, gas and minerals, ranking transparency in 41 countries among the world's top producers of petroleum, gold, copper and diamonds. The index is an assessment and comparison of information published by governments about revenues, contract terms and other key data. It is an important tool for elected officials, policy makers, civil society and media seeking increased public disclosure about natural resource management, and greater government accountability.
Carlos Monge, RWI Latin America Regional Coordinator, and colleagues deliver fresh news and insight. In the September issue, Brazil's PETROBRAS raises US $70 billion in the world's largest share offering and Colombia's Congress discusses a bill that would modify royalty distribution.
Opportunities for the disclosure of contracts in the extractive sector of Kazakhstan were the focus of an international conference, "Extractive Industry Contracts Disclosure: Making Development Sustainable," attended by prominent Kazakh lawyers and leading experts in the development of model mining development agreements. The event, which also marked the Russian- and Kazakh-language launch of RWI's 2009 report Contracts Confidential, was jointly organized by the Soros Foundation-Kazakhstan, the Revenue Watch Institute and the International Bar Association.
Carlos Monge, RWI Latin America Regional Coordinator, and colleagues deliver fresh news and insight. In issue August 31, Venezuela and Trinidad and Tobago sign a gas pact; Bolivian President Evo Morales modifies the iron territory granted to Jindal Steel; and Brazil weighs reducing its gas imports from Bolivia.
When companies sell their oil and gas assets before production has even begun, they may turn a profit long before the host country can collect the tax revenues typically associated with production. The prospect of an immediate upside for industry with uncertain or delayed benefits for countries has sparked a debate over capital gains taxes on pre-production sales. Analyst and RWI advisor Keith Myers reviews current controversies in Uganda and Ghana, using these emerging oil nations to make the case for clearer extractive sector taxation rules.
Carlos Monge, RWI Latin America Regional Coordinator, and colleagues deliver fresh news and insight. In issue August 15, a Bolivian gas find may increase exports to Argentina; Venezuela's state-owned PDVSA presents its annual financial report; and Chile's lithium framework is challenged.
A year after Peru witnessed deadly conflicts over hydrocarbon exploitation in the Amazon, the nation's Congress has passed a law clarifying the right of indigenous peoples to advance consultation concerning extractive industry activities on their lands. Claudia Viale and Felipe Bedoya of RWI's Latin America office explore the issue.
A U.S. audit that found the U.S. Department of Defense unable to account properly for 96 percent of $9.1 billion in Iraqi funds from the sale of Iraq's oil underscores the need for Iraq's new government to adopt strong, transparent controls on oil revenues and spending if the country's oil industry is to fuel economic development rather than conflict.
Carlos Monge, RWI Latin America Regional Coordinator, and colleagues deliver fresh news and insight. In issue July 15, Peru considers a windfall profit tax; Chile seeks royalty increases to help earthquake-damaged regions; and Colombia's oil production approaches one million barrels per day.
This May, the government of Uganda circulated a draft Petroleum Bill for the management of the country's emerging oil sector. In a new analysis of the bill from the Revenue Watch Institute, Professor Robert. D. Langenkamp concludes that, despite several positive attributes, the new bill leaves many questions unanswered and many problems unaddressed.
To promote sustainable economic development, the government of Nigeria is considering the creation of a Sovereign Wealth Fund, a savings tool that could protect against oil price volatility. But, according to a new RWI analysis, Nigeria risks repeating patterns of weak economic governance and volatile spending unless its new Fund features certain safeguards. Read more and download the full briefing paper.


RWI's Latin America team delivers fresh news and insight. In issue June 30, Ecuador faces the long road to hydrocarbon contract renegotiation; Bolivia and Brazil increase investment to raise oil production; and Peru's rivers suffer from oil and mining pollution.
Recently, Open Society Institute - Azerbaijan, held a journalistic competition for investigative reports about issues of public finance—a critical area of concern for transparency activists. Three of the award-winning stories are now available in English, covering topics including regional access to water, the challenges to vocational training, and food safety.
Last week, more improprieties surfaced at the scandal-plagued Minerals Management Service, where oil companies had been allowed unethical influence over regulatory activities in Louisiana. The planned reorganization of the troubled MMS is only a half-step towards true reform though. Revenue Watch Director Karin Lissakers writes that the ongoing situation makes it clear that transparency of key public data, which makes it far harder to hide regulatory or industry misdeeds, is critical to accountable government.
Carlos Monge, RWI Latin America Regional Coordinator, and colleagues deliver fresh news and insight. In issue May 30, the debate about exporting natural gas continues in Peru; the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico holds consequences for Latin America; and Peru and Bolivia face the implications of rising international gold price.
In late March, Oil & Gas Journal editor Bob Tippee spoke to a gathering of the Gas Processors Association (GPA) on the necessity of renewing a once-vibrant corporate conversation on the concept of the extractive industry's "license to operate." In an eloquent call to action, Tippee noted the important role that the Revenue Watch Institute has played in maintaining an emphasis on transparency in extractive industry contracting. Praising the insights of recent RWI report Contracts Confidential, Tippee exhorted GPA members to open their contracts up for public oversight, and transform them from objects of secrecy into vehicles for building trust.
Carlos Monge, RWI Latin America Regional Coordinator, and colleagues deliver fresh news and insight. In issue April 30, the Tía María mining project sparks a debate about the use of water and territory; the Bolivian government collects warranty payments from Jindal Steel; debates are underway on the distribution of royalties from Pre-sal in Brazil; Ecuador's President Rafael Correa pushes for new contracts; and more.
On Sunday, April 25, the Revenue Watch Institute presented a dynamic policy discussion on lessons learned from the global financial crisis and the steps that local and international actors can take to insulate resource rich economies from future shocks and ensure the long-term benefits of extractive activity. 
Revenue Watch joins Amnesty International in calling for an immediate investigation into the illegal assault and detention of three Nigerian civil society activists by police on April 5. Three activists from the nonprofit group Social Action, which promotes citizen participation in the management of resource extraction, trade and investment that affect human rights, democracy and livelihoods, were violently stopped and arrested without explanation by police as they left their office.
On February 18, Stanford University's Mark Thurber delivered a research paper co-written with Revenue Watch Legal Analyst Patrick Heller and David Hults, also of Stanford University, to the 2010 International Studies Association Conference. The paper, "The Limits of Institutional Design in Oil Sector Governance: Exporting the Norwegian Model," published by Stanford's Program on Energy and Sustainable Development, studied eight resource-rich countries to explore the obstacles to exporting Norway's lauded model of resource management to other nations.
Carlos Monge, RWI Latin America Regional Coordinator, and colleagues deliver fresh news and insight. In issue March 9, Argentina and Bolivia revisit their gas supply contract; Chile's earthquake impacts the mining and energy sectors; and oil and gas production trends shift in Colombia and Venezuela.