The Company That Bribed The World - It was the company with jet-set style and dirty hands. From the tiny principality of Monaco, Unaoil reached across the globe to pay multi-million dollar bribes in oil rich states. The beneficiaries? Some of the biggest companies in England, Europe, America and Australia.
Oil and conflict in Nigeria's Niger Delta region: Between the barrel and the trigger. In the most recent issue of The Extractive Industries and Society, Cyril Obi examines the "resource curse" explanation for the “failure” of African states: poverty, corruption and violent conflict. [more inside]
George Osodi is a London based and Nigerian born photographer. Recent exhibits have covered the region's beauty admist the local effects of the oil industry.
Current TV previously & previously, the media company founded by Al Gore after the 2000 election, has picked up the kinds of in depth long form journalism being rapidly dropped by major networks, but has been tantalizingly unavailable for those without cable; until now. They have been putting their Vanguard episodes up on their website and on YouTube. [more inside]
Wiwa vs. Shell. 14 years ago, Ken Saro-Wiwa (prev) was hung with his counterparts for speaking out against Shell and the atrocities they were committing upon the Ogoni people of the Nigerian River Delta. [more inside]
The other religious riots. While much of the world's press has covered the Muslim cartoon riots, not nearly as much ink has been spilled over the continuing violence in Nigeria. A good analysis of underlying factors here. A Shell report points to oil as a proximate cause of violence as well. For oil companies, this may not be a bad thing. (If I was more interested in trolling, I'd have framed this as "Christian Leaders Fail to Condemn Religious Violence." The real world's a little more complex).
Blood Flows With Oil in Poor Nigerian Villages An insightful NYT article on "the desperate struggle of impoverished communities to reap crumbs from the lavish banquet the oil boom has laid in this oil-rich yet grindingly poor corner of the globe" Ok, so the quotes a little heavy handed but the pic on the 2nd page speaks volumes.
"The myth of oil prosperity runs wide and deep". "Petroleum-led development strategies have delivered nation after nation into a spiral of debt and dependency. And yet, governments, corporations, and international financial institutions continue to reinvest in the growing, global oil economy". Consider Nigeria, the point of focus of attention of environmentalists, human rights activists and fair trade advocates around the world. With its annual debt service obligation at over $4 bn, more than a third of its export income, Nigeria has in recent years pegged its annual budget allocation for actual debt servicing at $2 bn. Lower export earnings forced it to cut this to $1.5 bn in the 1999 budget. Who's to blame? Theftocracies, the IMF, World Bank, oil companies, foreign governments? Since it is clear that debt restructuring harms more than helps, will there be more debt relief, and finally, who ends up paying the banks when loans are written off?