[FoME] Understanding Oil Contracts - for energy journalists/civil society

Zara Rahman zara.rahman at openoil.net
Mo Nov 12 17:46:59 CET 2012

Hi all,

Just a quick introduction - I'm from Berlin-based organisation OpenOil, 
seeking better outcomes from the oil and gas industry for the people of 
producing nations. Our current projects include producing public domain 
reference guides to extractive industries in nine countries -- 
http//wiki.openoil.net -- and research into energy subsidies and cash 
dividend models of achieving transparency, as well as more generally 
running workshops for energy journalists, in the Middle East, Africa and 
Latin America.

I thought our latest project might be of interest to those of you 
working with media or civil society in Africa and Latin America, 
especially countries where oil issues are incredibly important but where 
there is very little available information for the non-expert. 7 
jurisdictions around the world have now published their oil contracts, 
but we have found that there is generally very low understanding of 
these crucial but complicated documents, which determine how a country's 
oil industry will be governed for years after the actual contract 
signing. These issues are of particular importance in countries where 
contract disputes have lead to serious economic disruptions, such as 
Tanzania, Uganda, South Sudan and Iraq, to name just a few.

To help solve this problem, we brought together a group of 10 experts 
from around the world to collaboratively author a book on how to 
understand these contracts (a booksprint, in partnership with 
Sourcefabric), written in a light hearted and easy to understand way, 
complete with illustrations! The book has now been released under the 
Creative Commons License and is available for download from our site, 

As you'll see below, we're looking to develop a training curriculum from 
the book and run courses for activists and journalists- if this is 
something your organisation would be interested in working with us on, 
please let me know.




We are proud to announce that the first book about oil contracts for 
non-experts, "Oil Contracts - How to Read and Understand them" - is out now!

*Download the pdf here* <http://openoil.net/contracts-booksprint>

It was written in a five-day booksprint by a group of corporate lawyers, 
government negotiators and development specialists.
Please excuse typing and formatting errors- they will be corrected in 
coming weeks. For now though, we wanted to share with you our first 
version of this living document.
What now? We are looking for organisations or people who want to work 
with us to take this forward. This includes:

  * Translation - Arabic, French, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish ideally.
  * Training courses- we would like to run low-cost, localised training
    courses with the book as a basis. The first step for this is
    building a training curriculum, for which we are looking for funding.
  * Country-specific books - would you like to see a book focused on
    your country's oil contracts? We can take material from this first,
    generic book and then build it out to be specifically based on the
    contracts available from one country or specific region.
  * Joining forces with contract monitoring or contract transparency
    movements- how would you like to see the book used?

Your comments on the book are most welcome.  As you'll notice when you 
read it, different people's voices can be heard in the book, each 
chapter of which was written and rewritten multiple times to produce 
this rich body of material.
We hope you enjoy it!!

Very best,


Zara Rahman
Research Associate

Mobile: +49 163 170 6782
Skype: zara.rahman
Twitter: @Open_Oil

Imagine an Open Oil Industry -- http://openoil.net

Download free now - "Oil Contracts - How to Read and Understand them" from http://openoil.net/contracts-booksprint

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