Important Tools and Information Hubs on Extractive Industries

This is an excerpt from a paper written by Prof. Anya Schiffrin, is acting director of the International Media and Communications (IMC) program and an adjunct professor in teh School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University.


Sites aimed at journalism

  • The Guardian Data Store / Data Blog: Articles and data resources (including applications, a searchable database of datasets, and an open platform for enabling aspiring data journalists)
  • DocumentCloud: “A tool for journalists, a document catalog, [or] both” that allows users to upload source documents and annotate them.

Sites with an extractives focus

1)    National Sites

  • Sahara Reporters: “An online community of international reporters and social advocates dedicated to bringing you commentaries, features, news reports from a Nigerian-African perspective.”
  • Guinée News: “Interested primarily in news and information concerning the Republic of Guinea. Also coverts African and international issues” (translation of “About” page).
  • Soul Beat Africa: “A knowledge management initiative focusing on communication and media for social change in Africa.”
  • @Verdade: “A high quality, full color newspaper distributed weekly to the Mozambican population, with an estimated print readership of 400,000.”
  • Oil in Uganda: a website owned by Action Aid International Uganda, operating with funding support from Ford Foundation, with news and detailed information about the social, economic, governance and environmental dimensions of the oil and gas sector in Uganda. A quarterly print edition excerpts major content of the site, with some additional features.

2)    Sites that provide data about oil,gas, mining

  • Energy infrastructure and flows
    • Joint Organisations Data Initiative (United Nations): A database measuring 13 product categories (crude oil, NGL, LPG, etc.) and 14 flows (production, direct use, stock change, refinery output, etc.) across over 90 participating countries, with data from 2002 to present
    • BP Statistical Review of World Energy: Contains annual price, consumption, and production totals on oil, natural gas, coal, and other resources; updated yearly with statistics going back decades in some cases
      • Data visualization tool here
  • U.S. Energy Information Administration: A variety of tools for viewing historical, international energy data including production, consumption, imports, exports, capacity, stocks, emissions, etc. for all fuels and countries
  • International Energy Agency Statistics: A comprehensive set of maps, graphs, and charts displaying energy production, consumption, imports, flows, etc. in a variety of interactive graphical formats on an individual country level
  • Revenue management and transparency
    • EITI Country Reports: Contains data on revenues reported as paid by the companies, and as received by the governments, for the 37 countries that are part of the EITI
    • Promoting Revenue Transparency: 2011 Report on Oil and Gas Companies (Revenue Watch / Transparency International): A report on transparency and anti-corruption efforts of 44 oil and natural gas companies from 30 countries (including country-level disclosures for all nations within their upstream production line, totaling 73 countries in all)
    • Resource Governance Index (Revenue Watch): Data tool that facilitates country-by-country comparisons in transparency and accountability in the energy sectors of 58 nations, with sections on disclosure procedures for individual countries
      • Similar comparative tool found here for EITI nations
  • Oil and Gas Tax Guide for Africa 2013 (PricewaterhouseCoopers): Self-described as a “quick guide to oil and gas tax regimes” in Africa, this report includes tax and regulatory information on 14 African countries’ oil and gas industries
  • Beyond the Rhetoric – Measuring revenue transparency: company performance in the oil and gas industries (Save the Children UK): An overview of transparency in the oil and gas sector, including a scoring system for revenue transparency and anti-corruption efforts for all major global oil/gas companies (and several smaller and/or state-owned ones) for a total of 52 country-specific operations
  • Contract Transparency (Publish What You Pay): An interactive map showing countries that have published their contracts with extractive companies, accompanied by links to the contracts
  • Contribution of natural resources to gross domestic product (World Bank): Table listing the percentage of GDP comprised of rents for oil, natural gas, coal, mineral, and forests
  • Financial & Private Sector Development: Privatisation (World Bank): Tables listing historical privatization transactions of at least $1MM from 1988-2008, including 215 in the energy sector (with fields for company name, country, year, deal type, and proceeds)
  • Oil and Mining Contracts (GEI Program / Revenue Watch): A database of contracts, agreements, and key terms containing 120 documents from 7 countries
  • Payments to Governments (Shell Global): Contains data on income taxes, sales taxes, and royalties paid to host governments by Shell Global in 2011 and 2012
  • Chad/Cameroon Development Project: Year-End Report 2012 (Esso Exploration and Production Chad Inc.): Reports on compensation paid to local actors (chapter 7) as well as revenues paid to the host country and what the money was spent on within the country (chapter 13)
  • Mapping the Extractive Industries – Ghana, Extractives in Africa: An interactive map and accompanying table, piloted for Ghana but with plans to expand to the rest of Africa, displaying various extractives projects throughout the country, as well as their reported payments to Ghana and the government’s reported receipts
  • GlobeScan: assesses industries based on perceptions and reputation

3)    Site with information on arbitration processes and outcomes:

4) Sites to connect people

  • Ulula: A mobile platform designed to measure the impact of big business on the communities they inhabit and serve by analyzing “social, economic and environmental risk” and utilizing a big-data feedback structure to foster dialogue between businesses and citizens
  • HunchWorks: “The world’s first social network for hypothesis formation, evidence collection, and collective decision-making.” Members submit a hypothesis and then collaborate in collecting supporting materials and analyzing the results in order to take action quickly
  • Goxi: A collaborative network inspired by the World Bank Institute and the African Development Bank that is designedspecifically for extractives-related governance projects. Includes discussion of research, job searching, and task sharing for members in academia, business, government, nonprofits, and the media
  • Investigative Dashboard: “Detailed methodologies, resources, and links for journalists to track money, shareholders, and company ownership across international borders,” with plans to include “more advanced collaborative workspaces, data-archives, and discounted…access to expensive or proprietary research services.”
  • Ureport: similar to LabourVoices
  • Ushahidi: the largest and most useful crowdsourcing tool.  Founded in Kenya and used during the Haiti hurricane to map incidents and help rescuersfind victims.
  • Mashable: this well-known site also has some information on oil, mining and gas.

4)    Sites that help journalists present what they find eg mapping and visualization

  • Resources and inspiration
    • FlowingData: A blog dedicated to the visualization and digestion of data in aesthetically pleasing and easily comprehensible formats
    • Visualizing: “A community of creative people making sense of complex issues through data and design”
    • Information is Beautiful: Similar to Flowing Data, this blog includes a variety of data visualizations with accompanying commentary
    • Mapping / visualization tools
      • A site dedicated to data visualization tools across a broad array of purposes, from infographics to presentations and even videos
      • Google Charts: Display and embed Google’s charts and infographics (in various formats) on external web sites
      • Google Maps: Free, embeddable maps that can be customized and saved
      • Gephi: “An interactive visualization and exploration platform for all kinds of networks and complex systems.”
      • OpenStreetMap: A free, open-source street map of the entire world that can be exported in part or as a whole
      • OpenLayers: Easily embeddable maps for any web page (also open-source and free)
      • Datawrapper: “An open source tool helping anyone to create simple, correct and embeddable charts in minutes.”
      • Spatial Dimension: a company that helps countries cadaster extractive projects on maps and have them online.