Ghana as a Case Study for Contract Disclosures
In 2007, oil was discovered off the coast of Ghana, in the Jubilee oil field. Tullow Oil, a British company, began oil production in 2010. Despite high public expectations and pressure to exploit the find, the government awarded contracts for production without legislation in place to manage the oil reserves. Civil society and the media pushed hard for transparency in the sector, including on the contracting award process and information on the distribution of revenues.
Recently, the Government of Ghana released seven petroleum contracts to the public. On July 14, 2011 Oxfam America and the World Bank Institute hosted 'Shining a Light on Petroleum Agreements", a discussion on the increasing demand to see the terms of petroleum agreements between governments and international oil companies.
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.
“It is in the interest of all stakeholders to make oil contracts publicly available,” said Amin Adam. The case of Ghana was presented as an example of how a legal framework can support contract transparency.
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. “As long as a country wants to disclose their agreements we must not stand in their way,” said Rosalind Kainyah from Tullow Oil.
The 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 is working with the Civil Society Platform on Oil and Gas and Oxfam to discuss how certain elements of the contract can be monitored.
If you missed the event, a recording is available here.
Learn more and connect.