Nigeria: June 4, 2005


The oil companies in the Delta region are building new off shore facilities, that will increase production from 2.5 million barrels a day, to 4.1 million. The offshore gas and oil wells will be less subject to thieves tapping into pipelines and stealing. The offshore facilities will also be less exposed to kidnapping, blockades and other forms of extortion from local groups.  Meanwhile, the oil companies continue cutting deals with the tribe based oil stealing gangs. It's easier to negotiate and pay what amounts to bribes, than to risk interruptions to pumping operations. Some of the rebels are allied with environmental groups that want to stop oil exploration. But too many locals are too poor, and too much money is at stake for there to be large support for shutting down the oil operations. The locals just want a larger share of the proceeds. So do the Moslem tribes way to the north. They are upset at no longer being in charge of the government, and the oil wealth. Some $300 billion in oil revenue has gone to the government since oil operations began half a century ago. But the northerners no longer control the army, and are having increasing problems in their own neighborhoods with Islamic radicals. 


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