By David Mihalyi and Chris Perry, Natural Resource Governance Institute
This post originally appeared on www.resourcegovernance.org on April 1, 2016
NRGI is excited to launch the public alpha version of ResourceProjects.org.
ResourceProjects.org is an open-source repository of data on oil, gas and mining projects across the world. It provides a platform to collect, display, download and search extractive project information using open data. It aims to harvest data on project-by-project payments to governments—based on recent mandatory disclosure legislation in the EU, U.S. and Canada as well as EITI reports—and link it to associated information about the project from a variety of sources. The platform will make it easier for journalists, CSOs, researchers and government officials to search, access and download relevant data.
As we continue to develop the platform and connect it to new data sources, we are inviting contributors and collaborators to get involved.
Why does project-level data matter?
Projects are the physical, tangible presence of extractive operations in a country. A project is the mine that people see out of their window or the oil field along their coastline. But a project also has a concession area where it is located, one or more participating companies, contract documents detailing their obligations and payment information giving an insight into their economic contribution.
Governments and citizens groups can also use project data to model revenues and forecast budgets, such as in Ghana, where all interested parties could see how different oil prices affected the money available for the budget. Others, such as CCSI, Global Witness and Open Oil have modelled contracts to evaluate extractive deals, while IMF economists routinely use project-level information for fiscal design and technical assistance using their publicly available FARI model. Project information has a multitude of applications beyond fiscal modeling. It can be tied to spatial data to help better understand local impacts or environmental consequences, as highlighted by recent academic papers.
Why did NRGI build this tool?
Information on extractive projects are scattered across different company and government websites, in EITI reports, as well as databases compiled by regulators, international organizations and civil society. It comes in multiple formats: PDF, spreadsheets and in computer queryable databases. These are rarely linked to each other at all.
ResourceProjects.org brings this information into one place. We are also working on linking the data gathered to other repositories on related entities, such as OpenCorporates for associated companies; ResourceContractsfor oil and mining contracts; and Open Oil`s concession map. All information on the platform is stored with details on what source it came from and how it was retrieved. By bringing this information together in a standardized and accessible format, we are allowing users to explore extractive projects with greater depth.
How to get involved?
We are now looking for people who are interested in getting involved in the site. By the end of April, we will have added company disclosures from the U.K. that are starting to be released. Beyond the U.K., many companies are beginning to release project-by-project tax payment data. We would welcome any organisations or individuals who wish to lead on sourcing data from specific countries from upcoming mandatory disclosures.
Additionally we are inviting feedback as well as interested collaborators to help develop the site and its content. Further features and enhancements will be rolled out in the coming weeks and we are looking for partners who want to get more closely involved.
Finally, we are seeking to support the growing community of data users. Please sign up to the ResourceProjects mailing list if you want to keep up to date with what’s happening and how different organizations are using project-level information for improving resource governance.
If you are interested in getting involved, please contact NRGI economic analyst David Mihalyi at firstname.lastname@example.org.
David Mihalyi is an economic analyst and Chris Perry is an open data analyst with NRGI.
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