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Myanmar’s natural resources, including deposits of oil, natural gas, gemstones and other minerals, have attracted growing interest from foreign and domestic investors at a time of regulatory and institutional change. A newly-elected government led by the National League for Democracy (NLD) appears poised to expand on major political and economic reforms that began in 2010.

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 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.”

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.

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.

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.

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.


This photo essay is the fifth 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.


This photo essay is the fourth 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.


In the third of a series of photo essays by six different photographers in Myanmar, Andre Malerba documents the health and economic impacts of both locally owned and corporate gold mining.


In the second of a series of photo essays by six different photographers in Myanmar, Minzayar documents the way in which jade from Myanmar makes its way, untaxed, to bustling Chinese markets.


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.

In the first of a series of photo essays by six different photographers in Myanmar, Lauren DeCicca has documented the challenging circumstances faced by community members living alongside the giant copper mine.


In 2014, NRGI commissioned images by a Myanmar photographer, Minzayar, of the illegal jade miners that have flowed into the country’s northern Kachin state in pursuit of higher incomes. The project allowed thousands of viewers worldwide to connect faces to one of the most famously controversial aspects of the country’s extractive economy. Because of the attention and interest generated by Minzayar’s photos, NRGI has committed to further visually mapping extractives realities in Myanmar.

Parliamentarians have a crucial role to play in reviewing legislation on oil, gas and minerals, and in overseeing the government’s management of these extractive sectors. For instance, in Ghana members of parliament are actively overseeing the projections and allocations of oil revenues by scrutinizing compliance with the Petroleum Revenue Management Act...

This week, 29 participants from 13 countries — including Ghana, Chile, Uganda, Myanmar, Mongolia and Guinea — are taking part in our third annual Executive Course in Oil, Gas and Mining Governance in Oxford.

Poor governance and systemic corruption are prevalent in many resource-rich countries. Given their highly concentrated and highly profitable nature, the oil, gas and mining industries can generate the kind of political and private incentives that favor rent-seeking and institutional (or state) capture.

For the first time since it won in 1990, the National League for Democracy (NLD), led by Aung San Suu Kyi, will be contesting a general election. (The NLD won 43 out of 45 seats in a 2012 by-election.) Should the party or a coalition of opposition parties win, Myanmar will have its first majority civilian government in Myanmar in 53 years.

When we think about the “resource curse,” one oft-cited example is oil-rich Venezuela. Despite copious petroleum reserves, people in one of Latin America's top hydrocarbon producers queue for hours outside supermarkets to buy staple foods, and now cite food shortages as a bigger concern than crime.

During the oil boom years earlier this decade, rising petroleum subsidies in importing countries such as Tunisia and Egypt were a constant strain on budgets—and so the collapse in oil prices has produced nuanced challenges for state-owned oil enterprises (SOEs) in both countries.

Nigeria's President recently announced that former ExxonMobil executive Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu will head the national oil company, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). Eight top NNPC officials were sacked, and the head of crude oil marketing was “reassigned.” A list of fresh appointments soon followed.