Negotiating power over oil and gas resources in Senegal: The political economy of oil and gas in a ‘new producer’ country.
Ramirez, Ana Francisca
Denyer Willis, Graham
University of Cambridge
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
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Ramirez, A. F. (2021). Negotiating power over oil and gas resources in Senegal: The political economy of oil and gas in a ‘new producer’ country. (Doctoral thesis). https://doi.org/10.17863/CAM.85043
Negotiating power over oil and gas resources in Senegal: The political economy of oil and gas in a ‘new producer’ country. Ana Francisca Ramirez. Since its independence from France in 1960, Senegal has displayed relative political stability and institutional capacity, as well as peaceful democratic transitions. Yet, when important oil and gas discoveries were made offshore between 2014 and 2016, Senegal settled for a small share of the potential oil and gas ‘pie’. Why did Senegal, a country with a relatively robust economy, strong political leadership and stable institutions not take a more assertive stance on oil and gas governance? To answer this question, I look to the universe of ‘pre-oil’ politics. Drawing from archival evidence of exploration and production negotiations from the colonial period in Senegal, as well as contemporary primary evidence from interviews with international oil and gas industry specialists and government officials, I explore the specific set of historical, institutional and political constraints, international and domestic, within which oil and gas resources are negotiated. Including Senegal’s upstream oil regulations, tax incentives, legal and fiscal conditions, exploration and production contracts. In my chapters, I analyse the history of oil and gas exploration under colonial rule, the evolution of Senegal’s political settlement since independence, the country’s contemporary oil and gas upstream governance framework, the specific offshore oil and gas project developments as they were agreed at final investment decision between government and companies, and the role played by donors and narratives in shaping key notions of risk and capacity among government and companies. I find that the fiscal and legal frameworks that were inherited by newly-sovereign Senegal at independence were in fact drafted by the colonial-oil company complex. Yet, these laws were never reformed to improve investment terms for Senegal but on the contrary terms deteriorated since the immediate post-colonial period. Senegal is now an emerging exploration and production country with proven resources and development potential. A series of interconnected domestic political factors and international forces have prevented Senegal from doing away with this imbalanced historical legacy and redefining terms in a way that creates more benefits for its economy, and political elites. I show that negotiation processes between government and international oil companies shape contractual and project agreements and reveal foundational power asymmetries that are key to our understanding of oil and gas resource management, politics and economics. Further, I argue that the nature and origins of the state-marabout domestic political settlement helps explain political elites’ complacency with suboptimal investment terms. This work contributes to enriching the existing debates on the political economy of oil and gas governance in emerging producer countries in Africa. It provides insights that draw on the multiple dimensions (historical, technical, legal, political) of oil and gas governance in a country that holds significant (35 Tcf natural gas and 2.7 billion barrels of recoverable oil reserves) but not colossal enough resources to transform its entire political economy. If and when the three development phases of GTA and SNE projects are in production, Senegal would produce about a quarter of Angola’s present day production.
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This record's DOI: https://doi.org/10.17863/CAM.85043
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