Recent Articles

Natural Resource Governance Institute team members are set to take part in a full slate of activities at the EITI Global Conference in Lima, Peru, 23-25 February.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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, a country site that uses the 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.

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 large fall in the price of oil since mid-2014 is on the whole good news for Tanzania, which is a net importer of oil. Indeed, Tanzanian stocks are around 40 percent higher than when oil prices began falling from a peak of $115 a barrel on June 19 last year...

While headlines still narrate a woeful tale of conflict in oil-rich Libya, many actors are hard at work planning for the country’s future, once peace prevails.

On 26 October 2015, the Natural Resource Governance Institute, the World Bank, and the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment (CCSI) relaunched in advance of the Open Government Partnership Summit in Mexico City. was initially launched in 2012 as a searchable database of publicly available oil, gas, and mining contracts.

In Nigeria, perhaps no institution is associated with corruption more than the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation. In a conversation at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, NRGI director of governance programs Alexandra Gillies and co-author Alex Sayne delved deep into their report on the labyrinthine opacity of the state-owned entity.

Indonesia's President recently outlined new economic policies which aim to produce greater certainty and efficiency in business through deregulation, de-bureaucratization, and improved law enforcement. His overall objective is to revive foreign investment in Indonesia in the context of global economic slowdown.

Today, the International Monetary Fund released its model for evaluating and designing oil and mining deals in resource-rich countries. NRGI welcomes the move. With growing availability of open data on extractives and a growing community of users of such models, it’s an important step toward bettering public scrutiny and understanding of resource deals and the flow of revenues.

NRGI president and CEO Daniel Kaufmann, who co-produces the Worldwide Governance Indicators published by the World Bank, discussed his recent article “Corruption Matters” with the IMF’s Bruce Edwards. Published in September in Finance & Development, the piece discusses the larger themes of governance and corruption in Latin America and elsewhere.

Confronting corruption in Latin America--one of the great development challenges the region faces--means understanding the shape it takes in respective nations. NRGI has addressed the topic extensively in the last months.

Earlier this year, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed the Public Finance Management Act 2015 into law and created one of the world's newest sovereign wealth funds. While the law provides a solid framework for effective governance, several key elements are missing—elements that would determine whether Uganda will truly benefit from its oil windfalls.

The UK and Norway oil and gas sectors provide an ideal comparison through which to compare the outcomes from different approaches to oil sector governance. The two countries have equivalent geology and a similar resource base – the North Sea Basin is effectively split down the middle between them.