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In Brief

Photo credit: Piero FissoreFlickr, available under a Creative Commons License

  • “More than a trillion dollars is being siphoned out of the world's poorest countries every year. It's the biggest heist you've never heard of.” ONE has launched a new campaign calling for the G20 to take steps - including extractive revenue transparency measures - to combat the opaque system that facilitates the siphoning off of millions from developing countries. Find out more about the campaign.
  • ‘Drillers in the mist’: How secret payments and a climate of violence helped UK firm open African national park to oil. Read Global Witness’ latest report exposing how far British company SOCO has gone to secure a drilling project in DRC’s Virunga Park, home to a third of the world’s gorillas.

“How does big business do business?” - Mapping BP

Extractive companies are sprawling and elusive things, made up of hundreds of subsidiaries in dozens of jurisdictions, each with different names and different functions. That being so, how can you ever really understand what big oil companies are up to?

In order to demystify these international corporate structures – or at least one of them - Open Oil set about mapping one of the behemoths of oil: BP. Using a prototype tool developed with iilab and Open Corporates’ unique legal identifier, Open Oil pulled the public filings of the BP PLC Group. In three weeks they had created a map that revealed the company’s 1180 affiliates, in 84 jurisdictions and through 12 layers of ownership.

You can visit the map and explore the set-up of BP’s structure and how it relates to different countries around the world. You can also refer to a user manual, an introductory video and an essay by Johnny West on the project: Mapping BP.

For details, or more information about the BP map, contact Anton Rühling at anton dot ruehling at openoil dot net or on +49 1578 9324961. There will be a Twitter chat on (#HowBigisBP) today, 3pm UK/ 4pm Berlin / 10 am EST Topic: “How can Open Data transform Big Oil - lessons from mapping BP”

Extractive transparency in EU fast becoming a reality

The UK, France and Germany have announced, in quick succession, significant progress in implementing EU Directives that will require extractive companies to publish their payments to governments where they operate worldwide. These directives (the Transparency & Accounting Directives) were adopted in June and November 2013 and should be transposed by EU member states by late 2015. The Accounting Directive covers extractive companies registered in the EU and the Transparency Directive covers extractive companies listed in the EU.

  • On 21st August, the UK published its draft regulations for the implementation of the Accounting Directive, which will be put before Parliament over the coming months. Company payment reports, covering payments made since January 1st 2015, will be made freely available online from 2016. Publish What You Pay commends the swift transposition by the UK government.
  • The French government published its draft regulation for the EU Accounting Directive in early September; it should be discussed by Parliament on the 17th of this month. Payment reports, covering payments from January 1st 2015, will become available in 2016. PWYP France called for Parliamentarians to extend the scope of reporting so that subsidiaries of extractive companies in non-producing countries (for instance in secrecy jurisdictions such as the Channel Islands or Bermuda) are also covered and to impose tougher sanctions.
  • The German government published its draft regulation in late July. The government will continue to work on the bill before sending it to Parliament – probably at the end of the year.

For more, read the press releases issued by PWYP UK and PWYP France

Photo credit: TPCOM, available from Flickr under a Creative Commons license

Indonesia’s natural resources and using the data

When Indonesia joined EITI in 2011, it set out ambitious aims for its reports, which were to include data disaggregated at project level and information about where companies operate, among others. With two reports out, PWYP Indonesia has seized the opportunity to try and answer some of the questions around the country’s natural resource management. Over the past year, the coalition has carried out a range of projects and research into using the data, which they discussed at a workshop last June aimed at highlighting the use of project level data at the sub-regional level.

PWYP Indonesia focussed on five key projects:

1. Revenue Sharing in the Riau province – Here, PWYP Indonesia and its local partner LPAD examined data on revenue-sharing in the oil, gas and coal industry. Researchers compared the figures in Indonesia’s EITI report with the amount the central government claimed to have distributed to the local government and the amount the local government stated it had received.  The report found significant discrepancies in the numbers reported by each entity.

2. Mapping production and revenue in nickel mining (South East Sulawesi) - This report focused on the flow of revenues from nickel mining in S.E. Sulawesi Tenggara. The findings revealed discrepancies in data on the flow of revenues from nickel (in the years 2009-2012) between the EITI Indonesia report and what local governments reported.  The report also featured rare export data gained from customs agencies at individual ports.

3. Mapping the mine concessions of West Kalimantan – The report mapped the boundaries of all natural resource concessions in West Kalimantan and found significant overlaps, with mining concessions being awarded in administratively protected forest areas. Key findings may be viewed in the Spatial Map on this website

4. West Nusa Tenggara province – With local partner SOMASI, PWYP Indonesia explored the management of revenue sharing for the improvement of public service in W. Lombok and W. Sumbawa (two districts in W. Nusa Tenggara Barat). The findings showed that the allocation of revenue sharing for public services in W. Nusa Tenggara, including W. Lombok and W. Sumbawa were quite minimal, and that social welfare and economic development are lagging.

5. Making the EITI report accessible for Papua’s citizens – Local partner AJI Papua and PWYP Indonesia shared their experiences on disseminating and making accessible the EITI Indonesia report in Papua. They had done this through talk shows on local TV and radio, SMS transmissions, and a newsletter.

For a fuller report of what happened at the workshop, visit our website. Keep an eye out for blogs on our site, as we will be writing more about these reports once they are officially published by PWYP Indonesia.

How can we follow the money? Community members’ meeting in Zambia

Mufulira, meaning ‘Place of Abundance’, is rich in copper and home to the Mopani mine. Its citizens, however, aren’t profiting from this abundance and copper revenues are yet to translate into a significant change in living conditions. I recently attended a half-day meeting with community members from the Mufulira Municipality, where they met with government officials and discussed the role of citizens in the management of natural resources. The meeting, organised by PWYP Zambia, was attended by the deputy mayor, four of the Mufulira Municipal councillors, and over twenty community members.

To begin with, community members expressed the need to increase their involvement in demanding transparency at the local level. For example, many of the community members admitted that they have no idea of the budgets at the local (Ward) level  or of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF). They noted that if they are not able to demand transparency and accountability at the Ward level, then they are not well placed to demand the same from the mining companies.

Community members also voiced their desire to play an active role in tracking the amount of money paid by extractive companies to the municipal council. This would enable them to participate in budget planning processes and monitor how revenues are used. As a result, communities would be better placed to demand better services from the municipal council.

For example, the Mufulira Municipal Council receives Zambia Kwacha 5 million (approximately USD$830,000) annually from Mopani Copper Mines Plc., as land rate payments. Community members present at the meeting admitted that they had no idea what the municipality used the funds for. One of the councillors explained that the money was used for paying salaries, and providing basic services such as garbage collection and street lighting projects. Yet community members disputed this…

Read the rest of the blog on our website.