Last weekend, Statoil management finally broke their silence on their leaked contract for gas production in Tanzania. In an interview with The Citizen newspaper, Statoil’s Country Manager for Tanzania, Øystein Michelsen, spoke at length, including on the subject of contract transparency:
“Statoil respects the position of any government in the countries where we operate with regards to whether the contracts are made publicly available or not. In a number of countries where we operate the contracts are publicly available and Statoil does comply with that position. In Tanzania, the contracts are confidential and for that matter, Statoil also complies with that position.” [my emphasis]
“In 2012, Transparency ranked Statoil as the most transparent company among the world 105 largest publicly traded companies [see here]. We will continue to promote transparency, but we will also respect contract terms and the obligations we have towards our partners.”
The Citizen used this as their headline: “Investors accuse govt of keeping contracts secret.” And the point is clear: Statoil has no objection to contract transparency. Continue reading →
If you’ve signed up to receive this blog by email (as you can do using the link on the right), then you may well have missed several posts over the past few months. I shifted to a new web-host at the beginning of June, in order to be able to show more interesting charts – particularly interactive charts like these. I tried to bring the site’s email subscribers along with me, but for some reason that I don’t understand, this didn’t happen – sorry!
Having discovered the problem earlier this week, I’ve now corrected this mistake, so you should be receiving the emails again.
And in case you missed something interesting, here are some highlights from the last three months on mtega.com. It’s been a busy few months. Continue reading →
It’s good to see the Statoil gas story continues to make headlines in the Tanzanian press. Today (Monday) saw The Citizen lead with the story, asking some very pertinent questions about the contract and TPDC’s response to it.
I disagree with the TPDC statement, which I feel continues to misunderstand the issue. They are still not engaging with the key point: that the terms of the signed PSA (the leaked document) are significantly worse for Tanzania than the terms of the model PSA.
But it’s actually a different point I want to focus on here: transparency. Continue reading →
Over the weekend, the Tanzanian press finally began to pick up the leaked Statoil PSA story, prompted by Zitto Kabwe’s comments on the issue (in English and Swahili).
The Guardian made the story its front page lead on Saturday (5/7/14), while other papers caught up on Monday (7/7/14): This Day (front page lead); Mwananchi, Nipashe and Mtanzania (second or third on front page); and Daily News – see slideshow below. Majira had a cartoon today (see above), as did The Guardian on Sunday (see bottom of post). This Day also printed in full my piece in African Arguments last week.
The leaked Statoil contract (see here for background) is a big deal. Tanzania could well lose out on several hundred million dollars a year from just this contract (compared to the terms of the model contract). It should be the big political story of the moment, perhaps of the year.
When the parliamentary committee on economic affairs, industry and trade noted the bad deal in a report (pdf, Swahili), it led to zero coverage in the media.
Natural gas is a game changer in Tanzania, both economically and politically. The latest reports suggest that there may be as much as 51 trillion cubic feet available, not huge by global standards, but enough to have raised expectations sky high – see cartoon. The public and policy makers are excited, and it’s already having significant effects on both local and national politics.
“One Minister stated in the Parliament that “with the natural gas reserves Tanzania has, poverty will be history”. How I wish it was that simple! A plus and minus equation. Unfortunately the reality is opposite. There are chains of evidence that resources, due to many factors engraved within a ‘lesser’ leader, may lead to curse.”