This paper describes the benefits and challenges of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) in the extractive sector. Many countries create SOEs that focus on the extractive sector with hopes of building the country’s capacity to participate in the lucrative field of resource extraction, to increase the government’s revenue take, and to improve the government’s ability to monitor what other companies are doing in the country. Their roles can include operating in the commercial sphere, regulatory responsibilities, creating policy, and financial expenditures. While some SOEs are extremely successful companies, others have trouble being competitive with international companies and demonstrating strong benefit to the populations they serve. NRGI’s research has shown a few trends that lead to successful SOEs, including clarifying roles between the SOE and other government entities, developing a clear revenue retention model, investing in staff and practicing transparency.