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Dear Johnny,

Very intreresting article. It looks like the "oil curse already hit Niger" with all the turmoils related to prices of the fuel produced by the Zinder refinery and the famine.A sound solution could be found through the following points:

  1.  In 2007, the government of Niger promulgated a law stating that 15% of fiscal revenues of the mining industry will be invested in the communities neighboring the mining licenses. This is an act that could be generalized to the extractive industry by including the oil industry;
  2. Corporate social Responsibility stategies should take into account emergency cases in host countries such as famines and other natural catstrophes as top priority issues. Moreover, countries could tailor country CSR strategies with top priority work plans that extractive industry companies can consider when palnning their CSR actions.
  3. Feasibility studies should include a social feasibility, by having a closer look to the direct social environment of the extractive project, in order to not have an island of wealth in an ocean of misery.

Best regards.

Manou Boubacar, Former Advisor to the Prime Minister of Niger in Extractive Industry and Energy Policies, President and Country Manager Pan African Uranium

Thanks Johnny,

Certainly, there is no need to change the basis of contracts but to temporarily amend certain conditions if both parties agree that it is for the greater good of both project and communities. I am sure company’s Corporate Social Responsibility department would gladly see in your proposed initiatives a very good opportunity to assist, particularly if there is no significant changes to the overall economic conditions of the agreement.

Hi Evelyn -- I don't know if there are such explicit clauses or not in these contracts -- I doubt it. But the point is the companies would be waiving their own entitlements -- if they offer, is the government going to insist no, they must take the money or the crude? Then the question would simply be if both sides could agree to a rescheduling. Given that there is normally continual negotiation on cost recovery anyway, this would be unlikely to be a problem, especially as presumably we would be dealing in a context of mutually reinforced good will.

Hi Johnny,

Many thanks for sharing your article, very interesting initiatives indeed.

I’m curious, in your second proposal you suggest “That foreign oil companies producing in Niger's new field, China's CNPC and Algeria's Sonatrach, defer cost recovery claims by enough to allow all necessary emergency supplies to be bought.” How could this be achieved? Are there special provisions in these agreements that somehow permit the deferral of cost recoveries by contractors during production phase due to social emergency factors?    

Kind regards, Evelyn