Project Details

Coloured image of oil and water


Imagine an open oil industry

Project URL:
Project Twitter: @open_oil

Organisation URL:

  • Community Engagement
  • Environment & Sustainability
  • Data
  • Internet
  • Open Source

Our world runs on oil, and despite research into green energy, there is currently no credible plan for a carbon-free economy before 2030. Until that time, oil and gas companies will continue to play a huge part on the world stage. But who is keeping these giants in check?

Berlin start-up OpenOil was founded to bring transparency to the industry by making data on oil companies freely available to all. Their belief is that practical and socially progressive policy-making in the oil and gas sector is vital, and that an informed public is best placed to hold decision-makers to task.

OpenOil started out as a series of wiki articles on the oil industries of specific countries in the Middle East. They still publish wikis and their inventory is growing, but they are now also a consultancy, publishing house, training provider and transparency advocate.

In 2014, OpenOil and its partners launched the world’s first archive of oil contracts, which includes 385 government contracts from 54 countries. These contracts were already in the public domain, but were scattered across the internet or buried in piles of other noise. Now they have been neatly filed in one place and are accessible by the general public.

OpenOil’s API means that the data is easy to search, allowing users to frame a question in order to get to the relevant information quickly without trawling through pages of text. It also allows automatic updating, so if a publication lists some information about offshore oil fields in a particular region and the data is updated by the OpenOil team, it will also update on the publication’s website.

To get involved as a wiki editor, contact them at – the data is constantly changing and help is always welcome. 

Image 'Oil and Water' courtesy of Niklas Morberg.

Last updated: 25th of September, 2015

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