DSA2016: Politics in Development
- Jesse Ovadia (University of Windsor) email
- Geoffrey Chun-fung Chen (Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University) email
This panel invites reflections on the politics of governing oil and gas resources for economic and social development.
This panel will examine the state's role in petroleum management and 'petro-development' as well as the political context in which international organisations, state institutions, and other stakeholders participate in the governance of the oil and gas industry in order to influence the distribution of rents and other developmental outcomes such as local linkages.
This panel is closed to new paper proposals.
Too Big to Be Watched? The Political Control over Central State-Owned Enterprises in China
This paper investigates the strategic reform of the central SOEs in the oil industry.
With domestic and international expansion, the scale of China's central state-owned enterprises (SOEs) has increased to the extent that most commentators concluded that they have emerged as a new political cluster that is immune from governmental supervision, especially since the mode of China's policy decision is still embedded under the institutional constraints of 'fragmented authoritarianism' (Liberthal and Oksenberg 1988). However, such account seems to be unable to explain the recent restructure of state-owned assets in the pursuit of political efficiency in the past decade. In this article, we use the theory of energy security to reinvestigate the strategic reform of the central SOEs in the oil industry. We argue that the role of SOEs experienced a parallel change in political and economic decision-making during the reforming process. The changes reflect the division of powers in three different levels - the parent group company retained the old entity, group subsidiaries listed regenerated the high-quality assets from the group company, and diversified subsidiaries as the ultimate practical business operation - allowing the dual restructuring aimed at both maximising economic gains and minimising political red-tape surveillance in order to enhance its global competitiveness. This paper challenges the neo-liberal understanding of energy governance in China and argues that it is both the informal political centralisation and economical decentralisation measures that allow the SOEs to play a dual role as an enterprise through managerial autonomy while being a political actor that has been supervised by the central government of China.
Towards a Sustainable Resource Governance Regime in Ghana: An Investigation into the Political Dynamics of Institutional Development and Performance
Research on oil governance in Ghana assume that ‘good institutions’ matter more. However, a stronger focus on ‘elite bargain’ offers a better understanding of the shape and function of institutions.
The discourse around Ghana's recent oil and gas discovery has generally been dominated by the 'good institutions' mantra as key to addressing the problems associated with the resource curse. However, new insights from the political settlements perspective show how deeper forms of politics and power relations underpin the capacity of states and commitment of elites to govern natural resources for broad developmental purposes. Applying this frame of analysis to the governance of oil in Ghana, this paper reveals how the changing dynamics of the political settlement in Ghana shaped the forms of institutions to govern oil, including its links with different political coalitions, ideological bias and broader relationships with organised social groups. Through primary data collected from key informant interviews and case studies, this paper shows that the interaction between 'elite incentives' and their broader 'ideology' of oil-led development mediated the forms of institutions to govern oil. Within this context, post discovery efforts to promote 'good institutions' reforms in Ghana's nascent petroleum sector might be misplaced, and could be replaced with a stronger focus on the 'elite bargain' within Ghana's competitive clientelism political settlement, which appears to offer a more appropriate understanding of the shape and function of institutions.
Merits and demerits of the Chadian petro-developmental state
This paper seizes the use and misuses of oil revenues in Chad in order to address
the social, economic and political challenges during a decade of oil extraction.
The discovery and then the exploitation of oil in Chad for over a decade are transforming its society and its regime. There was a hope that oil extraction will let to sustainable development and Chad will use oil revenues to solve social, economic and security challenges.
The existing rentier management policies introduced by the State and international organizations should bring Chad in theory out of poverty and the structural violence that has affected it for more than half a century now.
This paper attempts to review the transformations that Chad is going through during the oil exploitation era. The framework of the rentier state (Beblawi and Luciani, 1987) and petro-developmental state (Ovadia, 2016) will be used
to assess the transformation process. The framework refers to the fact that the state in resource-rich countries is the main stakeholder and is responsible for promoting sustainable developmental policies and local content for the benefit of its society.
The findings show that the management of oil revenues resulted in poor socio-economic outcomes. The unexpected results of this oil extraction are that the state is getting stronger with oil resources while poverty and insecurity are on the rise.
This work highlights the paradoxical impacts of the use and misuses of oil revenue in Chad at various scales mainly local and international through the framework of the rentier and petro-developmental state theories
Ghana's Hydrocarbon Industry: A Look Backward and Forward from the Perspective of Coastal Communities
Ghana's new oil/gas projects have produced resentment and negative impacts in the Western Region. This paper presents qualitative research from 2010 and 2015 to examine the impacts of oil and gas production over time and identifies growing frustration in the region with the Ghana’s petroleum industry.
With much fanfare and raised expectations for the country's development, Ghana's Jubilee Oil Field was discovered in 2007 and began producing oil in 2010. In 2016, Ghana's Tweneboa, Enyenra and Ntomme (TEN) field is expected to begin oil production, while the Sankofa field is likely to begin producing oil and gas in 2017. These new projects have turned the country into a significant oil exporter. The three projects are located in the deep waters off Ghana's Western Region. As such, the six coastal districts whose expectations of oil-backed development had been built since 2007 have instead been confronted with what they perceive to be negative impacts of oil and gas production. In 2010, as oil was first being produced from the Jubilee field, a team of researchers visited the Western Region's six coastal districts, meeting with district officials and various stakeholders. They also conducted in depth interviews and focus groups in selected communities in each district. This paper builds on this research by following up in the same districts and communities five years later to produce a comparative study of the impacts of oil and gas production over time. With few identifiable benefits beyond corporate social responsibility projects often disconnected from local development priorities, communities are growing angrier at their loss of livelihoods, increased social ills, and dispossession from land and ocean. Assuming that others must be benefiting from the petroleum resources being extracted near their communities, there is growing frustration in the region with the Ghana's hydrocarbon industry.
This panel is closed to new paper proposals.