Recent Articles

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.

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.

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...

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.

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.

Extractive industry governance and the role of state-owned enterprises across sub-Saharan Africa are squarely in the spotlight after three huge scandals.

Ghana’s petroleum industry has undergone massive changes in recent years. Discoveries of commercial quantities of oil in the Jubilee fields in 2007 have triggered significant growth in Ghana’s petroleum sector and brought hope that petroleum resources will yield meaningful benefits for Ghana’s people...

Bad practices have kept the West African nation from operating competitively and transparently in oil and gas. Important regulatory agencies including the NNPC are considered weak and unaccountable. The newly elected government has some heavy lifting to do to enact real change.

A largely bureaucratic legislator outside ministry control take the reins. The Southeast Asian nation could also create a new, non-operating state-owned enterprise that would participate in projects and operate alongside Pertamina, the state oil company. Whatever path the country chooses, allocating policing responsibilities is essential.

Across sub-Saharan Africa, civil society groups and journalists have been playing an increasingly important role in advocating for governance reform. Part of their aim is to increase the chances that their countries’ sub-soil wealth might be transformed into meaningful strides in development.

Uncertainty about how Indonesia will update its Oil and Gas Law is discouraging the very investors whom policy-makers want to attract, a task already made difficult by historically low oil prices, energy experts say...

The Nigerian government has released a PriceWaterhouseCoopers audit report about the financial flows between the national oil company and the country's treasury. The document joins a long list of reports that reach a common conclusion: the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation is broken, and requires urgent overhaul.

In a wide-ranging interview this month with Critical Resource, NRGI president Daniel Kaufmann discusses differences in corporate behavior between the mining and hydrocarbon sectors...

As part of our programming, NRGI has developed five briefings offering an overview of the current situation in Myanmar's extractive sector on the following topics: EITI, contract disclosure, revenue management, state-owned enterprises and fiscal regimes.

For many in energy importing economies, low prices are a boon. But the drop in commodity prices is impacting the wellbeing of citizens in developing, resource-rich countries...

Oil is the lifeblood of modern economy. The discourse about how oil has made or marred the destinies of nations is intrinsically linked to its governance...

Falling oil prices have had dramatic effects on the solvency of highly oil-dependent countries, particularly those that have not saved much of their windfall receipts in boom years. In November, Ghana’s finance ministry presented its 2015 Budget Statement and Economic Policy to parliament...