Concession Layer Methodology
The term “Concession”
The repository uses the term concession to refer to the smallest demarcated area on the Earth's surface which exists as a unit within the official administration by a country or jurisdiction of its natural resources. This should not be confused with any contractual arrangement made to explore that area or produce resources in it, some types of which are referred to as “concession agreements”. In the parlance used here, a concession could be awarded under a license system, or any kind of contractual arrangement, such as a Production Sharing Agreement, or a Risk Service agreement.
Although this usage risks being ambiguous, it is in widespread use across the industry. For instance, the Schlumberger Glossary's entry for “concession” contains these two usages, as follows:
- 1. n. [Oil and Gas Business]
- A grant extended by a government to permit a company to explore for and produce oil, gas or mineral resources within a strictly defined geographic area, typically beneath government-owned lands or lands in which the government owns the rights to produce oil, gas or minerals. The grant is usually awarded to a company in consideration for some type of bonus or license fee and royalty or production sharing provided to the host government for a specified period of time.
- 2. n. [Oil and Gas Business]
- The geographic area in which the government allows a company to operate.
The repository adopts the second of these usages for the word.
Sometimes concession areas are referred to by a number and sometimes by a name. Sometimes the source puts the word Block of Field in front of a value, such as “Block 37” and sometimes not. In some cases, a concession area may be known by a combination of block number and name. For instance, the Pakistan concession map refers to entities such as “Block2866-2 (Kalat)”, or in Uganda, blocks such as “EA1 PAKWACH BASIN” and “EA4B LAKES EDWARD/GEORGE BASIN”. It is hard from the data currently available to determine if references like these, even from an official source, encapsulate the official designation of the concession, and if so if it has stayed the same since it was created, or has evolved over time, for example, by adding the name of a locale or field within the concession area once resources have been found.
The repository uses names from sources which derive from a government source. Since the government of a country in theory has sole agency (apart from in the United States) over block allocation systems and their naming, the government should be an authoritative source. In fact, government agencies can refer to concessions variously, and use different abbreviations and contractions but given the task of the repository, to propose a draft global open data for the concession layer, OpenOil decided to include whatever government-sourced data sets were available.
The data were found in a variety of formats.
- Digitised data sets with rich data available in downloadable formats – 11 countries and 15,756 concessions.
- Datasets available on official websites but on HTML pages that need to be scraped – 11 countries and 1237 concessions
- PDF files available from official sources – 7 countries and 851 concessions.
- Manual input from maps or unstructured data sources available on the Internet – 40 countries and 2,079 concessions.
Below is a table which displays the data more fully country by country:
Each data set is marked with the time it was retrieved, and the time of original publication of the dataset if known. As the status of concession areas can change at any time, the timestamp is necessary to denote the last point at which the information in the dataset was known to be true.
Relationship to other initiatives
This repository is a curation of data at a global level around oil concessions that exists in public domain across the Internet. As such, it is necessarily based on fuzzy and incomplete data. As of the end of 2014, there are important initiatives happening which should significantly increase data around oil concessions.
The expanded EITI Standard approved at its 2013 summit includes the requirement for all participating countries – now 48 – to include a full registry of licenses as part of its reporting under the initiative (section 3.9 of the 2013 standard).
Open Contracting Partnership
The Open Contracting Partnership is an initiative designed to encourage publication of all contracts paid for with public money which now extends to 27 countries, and which has just published a core data standard for publishers – i.e. government agencies – to follow.
This repository serves as a placeholder structure to gather in data in public domain and standardise it to the extent possible. It seeks to integrate these data sets into these and other open standards.