Recent Articles

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.

In 2014 NRGI’s MENA Regional Knowledge Hub (a partnership with the Lebanese Center for Policy Studies [LCPS]) offered its first foundation course on natural resource governance to civil society actors and members of the media from Iraq, Lebanon, Libya and Tunisia. In this course, participants strengthen their understanding of the oil and gas sectors and develop skills to engage in effective policy advocacy or reporting.

"At first, I thought that the NRGI knowledge hub training in Lebanon would simply be like the many other events I have attended on various issues. However, I realized from the presentation of the program and the opening messages that the organizers were serious and knew well what they were doing."

At a recent proposal-writing workshop organized by the Revenue Watch Institute – Natural Resource Charter in Erbil, Iraq, three participants thoughtfully answered a question: how is oil a tool for development?

RWI and the Lebanese Center for Policy Studies are offering a foundation course on natural resource governance to civil society and media from Iraq, Lebanon, Libya and Tunisia. The deadline for application is 7 May 2014 and...

Iraq is rich with oil, but public debate around the oil and gas sector in Iraq is limited, and corruption has reached endemic proportions.

Adnan Al-Janabi, head of Parliament's Oil and Energy Committee, discusses the petroleum law and oil's role in his country's future.

Susan al-Saad of the Iraqi parliament recounts how an RWI workshop taught her to tackle problems from a different angle.

RWI consultant Keith Myers reflects on the challenges facing Iraq's parliament in creating a post-dictator oil power structure.

RWI has held two regional workshops to help local groups analyze the report and take a leading role in Iraq's EITI process.

Keith Myers digs deep into the politics that have hindered the passage of Iraq's oil and gas law for more than four years.

Tensions were high at RWI's Beirut workshop as Iraqi lawmakers debated the role oil will play in their country's future.

Iraqi parliamentarians gathered in Beirut for a three-day workshop on lawmakers' roles and responsibilities in oil and gas oversight.

Iraqi civil society members concluded an RWI capacity building workshop with the decision to form a coalition of NGOs working for oil, gas and mining transparency.
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.
New York—With the formal addition of Afghanistan to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative this week, leaders and citizens gained a new tool in the struggle for regional stability, and the embattled country signaled a commitment to sound natural resource management and increased public accountability.
The Revenue Watch Institute today congratulated the Government of Iraq as it formally announced that it would join the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), taking a historic step toward the efficient and open management of its oil industry.
In the heightened political climate surrounding Iraq's upcoming election, lawmakers and others in Iraq are criticizing the country's pending natural gas deal with Shell Oil, saying that it offers lopsided benefits to the international oil giant and that it was drafted without adequate transparency or oversight.
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.
In commentary in the Financial Times, Yahia Said calls for transparency in the negotiation of controversial Iraqi oil contracts, and help from international institutions as Iraq rebuilds its oil sector, its hobbled bureaucracy and trust between government and the citizens who stand to benefit in an improved Iraqi economy.
In a June 30 interview, Revenue Watch Middle East North Africa Director Yahia Said explained the latest steps by Iraq to revitalize its oil sector through contracts with U.S. and foreign firms, and the continuing barriers to new hydrocarbon legislation. "The Iraqis haven't agreed yet on two major issues," Said told Judy Woodruff of "NewsHour." "One is the division of power and responsibilities between the central government and the regions and the province over the industry, who controls the industry, who signs contracts, who manages the fields.
As Iraq struggles to move beyond the deadlocked debate over oil legislation, a positive sign came last week when the nation formally expressed its interest in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. This is an encouraging step, as our colleague Yahia Said pointed out during his testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. With its February 21 letter to the EITI secretariat, Iraq's government officially declared its commitment to greater transparency in the management its vast oil revenues. Iraq holds the planet's second largest reserve of oil, now estimated at 300 billion barrels.
Iraq expert Yahia Said of the Revenue Watch Institute today warned that Iraq's development depends on the creation of a political dialogue that includes all Iraqis, and on the timely resolution of the country's oil law conflicts. "Nowhere is the gridlock caused by sectarian politics more evident than in the discussion of Iraq's oil legislation," explained Said, Revenue Watch Institute director for the Middle East and North Africa.
This week, two senior U.S. Senators expressed alarm at the lack of reconstruction spending and fiscal transparency in Iraq, and called for an investigation by the U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) into how Iraq manages its oil revenues. Despite the reductions in Iraqi violence since the U.S. military "surge," the rebuilding process and the associated spending have lagged. Revenue Watch and other experts are citing a range of obstacles to easy improvements and better reporting of both revenues and expenditures.
On the one year anniversary of the U.S. military surge, community leaders in Iraq have begun to rebuild, but enduring changes such as an equitable oil law, or clean water, will be unreachable as long as growth depends on the factional leaders walled off in Baghdad's Green Zone. In the International Herald Tribune, RWI's Yahia Said explains the urgent need for fair elections and political power-sharing.