Thursday, July 14 : Oxfam America and the World Bank Institute hosted ‘Shining a Light on Petroleum Agreements”, a discussion on the increasing demand from civil society, parliamentarians, investors and other organizations to see the terms of petroleum agreements between governments and international oil companies. The importance of disclosing oil contracts goes beyond the obvious financial connotations, as it many times involves profound social, environmental and human rights implications.
Mohammed Amin Adam from the Civil Society Platform on Oil and Gas, Rosalind Kainyah from Tullow Oil, Michael Jarvis from the World Bank Institute, Lance Crist from the International Finance Corporation, Stephen Olson and Carlos Ramos-Mrosovsky both from Baker Hostetler firm and Ian Gary from Oxfam America, participated in the discussion around the importance of having governments publish oil agreements. Having information accessible for the monitoring of these contracts allows for greater transparency and accountability. At the same time, discussants recognized the remaining challenges and capacity needs to support this process.
In 2007, oil was discovered in the Jubilee oil field right off the coast of Ghana. Like Ghana, other African countries are rich in oil or mineral resources that generate wealth, revenue which governments should manage in a transparent and responsible way to benefit the citizens of their countries.
The case of Ghana was presented as an example of how a legal framework can support contract transparency. Mr. Mohammed Amin Adam from Civil Society Platform on Oil and Gas spoke about the positive steps and challenges for contract transparency in Ghana. Recently, the Government of Ghana released 7 petroleum contracts to the public.
“Mr. Mohammed Amin Adam: 7 petroleum contracts have been published in Ghana’s Ministry of Energy website#transparency #oil #contracts. It is in the interest of all stakeholders to make#oil contracts publicly available” goxitweet
Mr. Adam was echoed by the representative of Tullow Oil, a British company that began oil production last year in Ghana, about disclosing contracts. “Rosalind Kainyah from Tullow Oil: as long as a country wants to disclose their agreements we must not stand in their way #oil #transparency“goxitweet
Oxfam hired Baker Hostetler law firm to analyze the Kosmos Energy deals in Ghana. The firm stated that Ghana has significant oversight in exploration and extraction activities that helps in monitoring. “The new legal framework allows for oil revenues to be managed for the benefit of the people of Ghana”, Mr. Carlos Ramos-Mrosovsky added.
Michael Jarvis, Team Leader for Governance for Extractive Industries at the World Bank Institute spoke about the current work that is being undertaken in contract monitoring in Africa. Mr. Jarvis emphasized the importance of using a multi-stakeholder approach of working with country coalitions and building their capacity. “Michael Jarvis: we have over 50 resource depending clients and as an institution contract monitoring is very important#WBI” goxitweet
The World Bank Institute has taken a coalition / partnership approach that includes civil society organizations, media, private and public sectors that has allowed for more effective monitoring. It is also important to define what we understand by contract monitoring. “Jarvis: What is a common understanding of Contract Monitoring? monitoring of the award process and the implementation of the contract” goxitweet
There is a capacity need of stakeholders to know how to read contracts and knowing not only what they mean but understanding the financial model that goes along with it is equally important. WBI will sit down with the Civil Society Platform on Oil and Gas and Oxfam to discuss how certain elements of the contracts can be monitored.