Last week, investors and Saudi Arabia watchers got an eyeful of the massive riches of state oil company Saudi Aramco, which in a prospectus reported USD 111 billion in profits for 2018. But despite their role as custodians of masses of public money, state oil companies are notoriously opaque.
State-owned enterprises (SOEs) sit at the center of economic decision-making in many countries worldwide. Some have thrived, but many suffer from commercial and governance challenges. SOEs in the oil and gas sector have proven particularly prone to governance issues.
Daniel Kaufmann, Erica Westenberg, Rebecca Iwerks, Joseph Williams, Rob Pitman
Major enhancements of the global norms governing transparency in natural resources are afoot. Progress on these issues helps ensure that EITI remains relevant as a global standard for extractives transparency and reflects emerging best practices in implementing countries.
In countries rich in oil, gas or minerals—like Nigeria and Tunisia—electoral campaigns are fresh opportunities for political parties and candidates to dive into different aspects of the debate around resource governance; develop long-term policy positions; share them with voters; and raise public awareness on resource-related issues crucial to a meaningful and sustainable development.
Due to the large sums of money involved, subcontracting carries risks. Procurement deals are less visible and more numerous than the high-profile processes used to award exploration and production rights, and they are harder for government regulators, the media and civil society to scrutinize. They are therefore a common node for corruption.
Across the world, journalists have been key to uncovering malfeasance in the natural resources sector. Media have exposed illicit activities by international oil companies like Royal Dutch Shell in Nigeria. They have shed light on Cameroon petroleum contracts that bring few benefits to locals and to national accounts.