Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Tunisia's Energy Sector Investigation

The following is an excerpt from my latest investigation into Tunisia's oil & gas sector for Foreign Policy:

But when the National Constituent Assembly’s energy committee started using its oversight power this year to review contracts signed between the state and foreign oil companies, other state institutions reacted fiercely. Bureaucrats from the Ministry of Industry, which has traditionally had near-exclusive jurisdiction over energy contracts, pushed back on legal grounds to make sure that the energy committee would not have a say over any more contract extensions. Even the executive branch pushed back against the committee; at a budget presentation this summer, Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa warned assembly members to stop impeding the work of foreign oil companies. Jomaa’s argument was that the committee’s intervention was hurting Tunisia’s economic development — but his critics say that Jomaa’s many years working at a sister company of the international oil company Total make him too cozy with the sector. Even his current industry minister, Kamel Bennaceur, is a former longtime executive at the world’s largest oilfield services company, Schlumberger....

To read the full piece, click here.