Oil Prices Jump Due to Conflict in Nigeria

Written by Nile

Topics: Oil

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Today, the Movement of Emancipation of the Niger Delta has warned oil companies and their employees to leave the delta before midnight Friday. If these oil companies do not leave, they plan on disrupting the oil supplies in Nigeria which will ultimately have an impact on the price of oil.

Nigeria is U.S. fifth largest oil importer. The Nigerian government and the oil companies gross over $100 million dollars from pumping oil out of the Delta; and every day, Nigeria pumps around 2 million barrels of oil.

The people in the Delta receive none of this economic wealth. Instead, they endure extreme poverty, environmental devastation, climate change and conflicts despite the billions in oil revenues that have been extracted from their land. Who benefits from these conflicts?

In the past, the region had the heroic efforts of Ken Wiwa, who him and eight others was assassinated for non-violent peaceful actions for ecological justice by the Nigerian government. Then and now, oil extraction still destroys the health of the people in Delta.

Nigeria’s current conflict is an example of oil companies like Shell and Chevron being complicit in overthrowing the past peaceful means by supporting Nigerian and Western oil profits. The result is today’s desperate battle to recover basic human and economic rights that are playing out right now in Nigeria. U.S. oil addiction and the worse gas guzzler in the auto industry, Ford Motor Company is fueling violence and unrest in Nigeria, the fifth largest oil producer. Shame on Shell, shame on Chevron, and shame on Ford Motor’s Company.

10 Comments For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. Mike on Long Island says:

    When will the corporatocracy send in the hit men to take out those who decided to kick out the oil companies? And if that doesn’t work, when will the U.S. send in the military?

  2. Nile says:

    Mike these are excellent questions. The current unrest in Nigeria seems quite familiar to all of us who are following how the US intervene in oil rich nations. Their are many perspectives on what direction this will take. Interestingly enough, oil prices have tripled since 2001 in the region as global oil demand, led by the U.S. and China, has risen faster than supply. Also this January, China’s oil firms invested 2.3 billion dollars for a 45 percent stake in the Niger Delta. Not only are we seeing the brewing of even more chaos and violence in the region, but we also are witnessing a battle for oil between two great powers. All I can say is that we should be attentive to the media framing and see how it correlates with terms in the region like democracy, terrorism, intervention etc. which are current tropes for U.S. and military domination.

  3. Russell Hanley says:

    As a current resident of Nigeria…no connections to any oil company…I can report that the sitution in the Delta is much more complex than you make out in your article.
    There is fault on both sides, and to even state there are just two sides in this issue is a gross oversimplification.
    As a professional environmental scientist it pains me to see the level of pollution and waste in the Delta, but not all of that is the oil companies doing.
    Oil is regularly stolen from pipelines and other facilities, often by armed groups who claim thay are doing this for the benefit of the locals, but mostly the smuggled oil is sold and the money pocketed by the thieves. There is some evidence that the recent activities by the armed group MEND is directly related to a Nigerian military attack on barges smuggling oil.
    It is also the case that oil revenues are paid directly to many tribal chiefs in the Delta as a consequence of MOUs reached with various ethnic groups there. However, a lot of this money now supports those tribal chiefs who mostly live in other countries? How so?
    The major problem in the Delta is a lack of governance. Each of the Delta States has corrupt governors who compete with each other to steal as much of the revenue as possible. When the governor of Bayelsia State was recently arrested in London with a suitcase full of money his own downtrodden people sprang to his rescue? Why? some of them even went so for as to say it was ok for him to steal their oil money as he was one of their tribal leaders.
    Lastly, some of the worst oil pollution is in areas where bandits breach pipelines to steal oil and then fire on anyone who attempts to repair it….is the subsequent pollution the fault of the oil company that owns the pipeline?
    You know you could make a much more useful contribution to the debates on these issues if you did two things:
    approach an issue with an open mind instead of a preconceived position,
    Did some research, there is plenty of information on the web about these issues.

  4. Nile says:

    Russell, I agree with you on the complex issues in the Delta. Their is no simple way to look at the conditions that have historically plagued the region that is intimately connected to the history of oil corporations and their ties with corrupt government and the military. My analysis stems from the systematic devastation to the region since the 1950′s where oil was discovered which later spinned off to further impact the region economically, politically, culturally, and socially. Due to the billions of dollars extracted from the region, oil corporations have influenced government and military fractions to support their economic interests. Therefore, they have supported economic disparity and environmental impacts in the region that have grown exponentially at the expense of the local communities. What % of the billions of dollars, have gone back to the community? How many people in the region who are sick due to environmental pollution? How has corporate interest impact ethnic, cultural and social life? When you have a region where oil extraction and the lack of reinvesting in the surrounding communities, it has shown to promote forms scarity, resistance and struggle. It is in this vain, where severe political repression and environmental pollution produces nonviolent resistance movements as the world experienced the leadership of Ken Saro Wiwa and others, who was killed because of bringing attention to the environmental and human conditions to the region. We differ in analysis because I examining the systemic mechanisms of politics and economics in the region, while governments like Nigeria are supported by the pockets of oil companies and imperial forces. We differ in the historical critique in how this current situation was produced by the treatment big business in the region. Oil corporations in the Niger Delta seriously threaten the livelihood of neighboring local communities. Due to the many forms of oil-generated environmental pollution evident throughout the region, farming and fishing have become impossible or extremely difficult in oil-affected areas, and even drinking water has become scarce. Malnourishment and disease appear common. The presence of multinational oil companies has had additional adverse effects on the local economy and society, including loss of property, price inflation, prostitution, and irresponsible fathering by expatriate oil workers. Organized protest and activism by affected communities regularly meet with military repression, sometimes ending in the loss of life. In some cases military forces have been summoned and assisted by oil companies. While you focus on governance, I will add to the history in which your analysis is quite weak in examining how corporations influence has led to the countless years of repression due to the focus of “black gold”. The current act of taking arms is intimately connected to the peaceful protests that was killed in the region. I agree that the violence towards the community and different fractions of the community responding is not just about blaming the people who are acting, but there is something about understanding the system of corporate power and greed that sometimes creates conditions where bandits in all positions of power are just killing the health of the region. What do you think?

  5. maduabuchi okoli says:

    nile, i think i support your view. being a nigerian myself, i can attest to the fact that the violence in the niger delta stems from what i may call accute government neglect and oil companies’ connivance to destroy the land of the niger delta.
    The government of nigeria only pays lip service to the issue of development, epecially in the niger delta region. Out of frusration the people are left with no other choice of survival than to vandalize oil pipelines and oil bunkering because man must survive.
    In addition, the absence of legitimate jobs for the teeming youths of the niger delta coupled with the exploitation by the oil companies left the youths with little or no alternatives.
    In conclusion the violence and hostage taking in the niger delta is as a result of accumulated frustrations endured by the youths, not only in the niger delta but in nigeria as a whole.

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