Nigeria is a Mess and Getting Worse

Let's take an in-depth view of the the ever-worsening potential oil shock in Nigeria and its implications for US imports and world oil prices.

First, for some background. Almost of all of Nigeria's cuurent production of about 2.6/mbpd comes from the onshore Niger Delta region shown here.

Click to Enlarge

Let's look at some basic supply and export numbers first. From the EIA Nigeria Country Brief

Most importantly, as recently as November of 2005, Nigeria was the 4th largest crude oil exporter to the US--1.163/mbpd.

Oil and Gas Journal (1/1/05) estimates Nigeria's proven oil reserved at 35.2 billion barrels. The Nigerian government plans to expand its proven reserves to 40 billion barrels by 2010. The majority of reserves are found along the country's coastal Niger River Delta, with the majority of the oil located in approximately 250 small (i.e., less than 50 million barrels each) fields. At least 200 other fields contain undisclosed reserves.

Nigeria is the largest oil producer in Africa and the eleventh largest in the world, averaging 2.5 million barrels per day (bbl/d) in 2004. In August 2004, Nigeria's finance minister announced plans to produce 2.6 million bbl/d of oil in 2005. The Nigerian government plans to increase oil production to 3 million bb/d in 2006 and 4 million bbl/d in 2010.

Are these kinds of projections realistic at all given the escalating violence and civil unrest there?

Problems in Nigeria

The causes of unrest in the Niger Delta region are not hard to understand. But a good place to start is with Nigeria's president Olusegun Obasanjo.

Good Friends — President Bush and Nigeria's
President Olusegun Obasanjo

From the Christian Science Monitor article — "Yet Shell and other oil companies pay the government royalties and taxes that amounted to a whopping $27 billion in 2004. This is one of the world's most corrupt countries, however, and much of the oil money disappears into personal accounts of officials" — naturally, the corruption starts at the top.

Needless to say, the ethnic groups living in the Niger Delta itself do not benefit from any of this oil revenue and thus large scale oil production stands side by side with great poverty in the region.

Next to an impoverished settlement of mud houses and rusted zinc roofs lies the Utorogu oil facility run by Royal Dutch Shell in Nigeria's oil-rich Niger Delta. As a giant tongue of flame leaps repeatedly in the wind - making a ferocious hissing sound as its fire feeds on disused natural gas from a pipeline - local women keep a respectable distance to dry their cassava flakes in its heat.

"The opportunity to dry our farm produce by this fire is the only benefit we derive from having oil in our land," said Reivu Umukoro, a 38-year-old mother of four among the women.

According to Umukoro, while oil workers who run the Shell facility and Nigerian troops who guard them live in air-conditioned comfort, the Utorogu community nearby manages without electricity, potable water, and health amenities.

There has also been substantial environmental damage in the region including natural gas flaring, ruptured pipelines and other accidents.

On July 21, 2005, the pipeline that runs near here ruptured. Streams of black goo oozed into farmers' fields and a fishing creek. Because of a complicated dispute between villagers and the major oil company in this region, Royal Dutch Shell, the oil hasn't been cleaned up. Black residue still covers thousands of plants.

Residents are angry. "We will face Shell," says village chairman Daniel Oweh surrounded by agitated young men. "The next stage will be violent."

The levels of violence are now increasing rapidly. As much as (or more than) 100/kbpd are either shut-in due to attacks on oil facilities or pipelines. The EIA has estimated that in 2004 139/kbpd of production were being disrupted on a daily basis due to attacks on oil facilities or sabotage. For example, the EIA states that "in December 2004, SPDC and ChevronTexaco suspended Nigerian oil exports of 134,000 bbl/d due to unrest in the Niger Delta. In January 2005, ChevronTexaco announced that it was losing 140,000 bbl/d of oil due to the closure of facilities in the Niger Delta". In other cases the oil is just bunkered (stolen) by militant groups to support their activities and buy weapons.

One important player — no doubt, a self-serving African chieftain and despot on the rise — is Alhaji Dokubo-Asari (shown at right) a prominent member of the Niger Delta Ijaw ethnic group and militant head of the Niger Delta People's Volunteer Force (NDPVF). In fact, after President Obasanjo threw him in jail last September, one of the four MEND demands after kidnapping the oil workers recently was for his release. Alhaji Dokubo-Asari seeks to create a new country in the Niger Delta, taking the oil money with it.

The situation in the Niger Delta is so chaotic and unstable that it is impossible to do it justice in a short post. However, in August of 2005 NPR's Steve Inskeep "traveled to Nigeria for two weeks to see firsthand a country of increasing importance to America's oil-driven economy". It is a series of 7 reports examining various aspects of the problem entitled Oil Money Divides Nigeria. Only partial transcripts are available online but there are complete audio segments for each story available at the cited link. So if you are interested in learning more and have a broadband connection, I highly recommend that you listen to these stories. You will hear unbelievable stuff about the precarious nature of the situation there.

Violence, sabotage and kidnapping are now a daily occurrence in the Niger Delta. Oil company operations are almost all heavily fortified and protected by Nigerian army troops. The situation is a mess and getting worse. And the latest news is ominous. From the The poverty of oil wealth in Nigeria's delta link cited above, we learn

"This release [of the kidnapped oil workers] does not signify a ceasefire or softening of our position to destroy the oil export capability of the Nigerian government," MEND said in an email to reporters. The group said it soon would launch fresh attacks aimed at cutting Nigeria's exports by 30 per cent in February. It warned all foreign oil workers to leave as new hostages taken by the group would not be freed....

An expert security study commissioned by Shell two years ago fingered illegal sale of crude oil as the major source of funds for illegal weapons now awash in the region. An average of 1,000 lives are being lost in the region every year due to militia violence, the report said, predicting that at the current pace of violence Shell may be forced to abandon all onshore oil production in Nigeria by 2008.

And although we have the usual assurances from President Obasanjo that all will be well,
What remains is to see how the government plans to pacify the armed militants, who have vowed that oil will no longer flow without their consent, and have mastery of the delta's maze of rivers and creeks so far impenetrable to the military.
Nigeria may not be in the same league as Saudi Arabia or Russia but it is a very important exporter to both the US and Europe and is counted on to increase exports in the future. As reported in the CS Monitor article, David Goldwyn, a former US assistant energy secretary who now consults in the region says, "the loss of more Nigerian oil could send the price to $80 or $95 per barrel or higher.... The likelihood of a significant disruption always has to be counted as relatively high". If MEND makes good on its promise to reduce Nigerian exports by 30% in the near future, that will have a significant affect in the US and other importers of Nigerian oil.

To put this in perspective, the 4 other largest oil exporters to the US are Canada, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. Mexico seems to be about to tip over into permanent declines (given Cantarell), Hugo Chavez has shown some inclination to sell his oil to China instead, Saudi Arabia has the usual uncertainties we're all familiar with and in Canada, production is flat despite the over-hyped promise of tar sands from Alberta. So, Nigeria is looking pretty important in the overall scheme of things in the near term. And the way things look now, the likelihood of a significant disruption of oil exports from Nigeria must be taken very seriously indeed in 2006.

(Original introduction has been moved down here...tied to the news of that day...)

Things are not looking good in Nigeria (also pointed out by Leanan):

Armed militants carried out a wave of attacks across Nigeria's troubled Niger delta on Saturday, blowing up oil and gas pipelines and seizing nine foreign oil workers.
[editor's note, by Prof. Goose] Originally posted 2/3.

Earlier this week, Nymex LS crude prices for March delivery surpassed $68/barrel mostly over concerns about Iran. But that was not the only reason. In Behind rising oil cost: Nigeria, the Christian Science Monitor reported that —

Unrest in the country's oil-rich delta region helped to drive crude prices this week to $66 a barrel...
I knew Nigeria was an important part of the energy picture, but I wasn't aware of just how important.  (I suppose it should be obvious that the oil exports of any one conutry are "important" when the market is as tight as it is right now.)  Thanks for posting this, Dave.

Perhaps we should get a betting pool going on how long before we start hearing that Nigeria is amassing WMD's.  Somebody give Colin Powell a call and tell him to sharpen his pencils so he can draw more pretty pictures for the UN.

Nigeria's oil is mostly sweet light "the good stuff"  which makes it all the more important, given that sweet light production has peaked. The loss of Nigeria would has a huge impact on the market. Their production is not replacable. The SPR is mostly heavy sour...
Do you know the % sour of the Total?  I haven't been able to find that.
I seem to recall that around 75% is sour.
Given that there is almost no spare capacity left on the planet to make up a loss of up to 800KpD (30%)of high quality oil, does any of this enter in the contempletions/calculations on those intent on militarily intervening in Iran?

I mean, come on.  We are already losing production due to depletion in our own county and in most of our "hemispheric" suppliers (Mexico, and Venuzuela).  Now add Nigeria and then we haven't even got to hurricane season, a stepped up Iraq insurgency (or heck even a continued lack of investment and repair) taking out even more iraqi crude.  And then we cavalierly assume some surgical strike WONT have oil reprecussions (or minor ones).  McCain's insane comment to the effect that some higher prices might have to be paid to see that Iran does not go nuc-you-lar.  

How high??

It's one thing to try and grab resources when there are other spare resources for others to grab.  But when you are already in the hole and experiencing a minor oil crisis, why make it worse, much worse.  Anybody consider that maybe the best laid plans of this administration just might not turn out how we like they expected??

Is anybody considering the whole picture?  

The whole picture is "Demand Destruction."

Profiting off a dieing System-think Enron.

And war-"The Bush administration has said it is planning to spend $120bn (�68bn) on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars this year, bringing their total cost so far to $440bn.The spending request, which will soon be presented to Congress, marks a 20% increase over last year, despite plans to draw down US troop levels in both war zones in the coming months.



The control over the price of oil is now in the hands of global guerrillas.

And notice how you'll never hear Al Qaeda and oil/oil infrastructure
in the same sentence?  If Al Qaeda's not a Secret Service construct,
how come Al Qaeda didn't crash those planes into the Houston Ship
Channel?  Or if say Bunfield/London was caused by a crashing plane, would
a government talk about it?

Hey no problem.  440 B is only the price of about 20 months USA import supply (@60).  If the price goes up, the payback time is even less.  Wish I could get my project economics down to a level that good.

Terrorist control of the oil price could be negated with a meaningfull energy reduction program.  Why not spend the 440 B giving credits towards hybred cars for anyone recycling a SUV or other guzzler.  The Army could buy them up, transport them to Iraq and rent them to the high paid USA contractors.  They could afford to fill them up there with that cheap Halliburton Brand gas.

Problem solved.

Hey: A guy with your oilfield experience should know Halliburton doesn't produce or sell sub-surface gas. What kind are you referring to?
Ya i know.  I needed a way to loosly refer to the fuels they are supposedly using in Iraq.  They stand accused of fruad by inflating the transportation cost and then rebilling the US Government for the inflated price.

Apparently they're buying fuel somewhere in Turkey for less than $100,000 and then charge a staggering 27,000,000 to transport it to Iraq.  True, I haven't been able to find out the kind of fuel or what volume was purchased that would require such a high transportation fee, but if I take the 27million and assume a super high transportation cost of 25cents/gal that gives me a minimum volume of 108 million gallons of fuel.  Then that figures the price/gallon is 0.00075 or 75 cents FOR A 1000 GAL (I want some of that!) and you still need about 8000 trucks to move it.  Logistics problem.  Highly improbable numbers in any case.

Maybe they air freighted it in with 500 KC-111s with fighter escorts.

  It's become such a major military ally on the side of evil this intertwining of oil and terrorism. Talk of spending for credits on hybrid cars as military budgeting sounds a bit like Carter in the 70s. We laughed then. We're not laughing now. Oil under the ownership of military enemies was a problem seen clearly back then, and we started to take the right steps. Had we continued on that path, think of how much easier it would be to carry out our war on terrorism now. Any reasonable military action America takes in this war is viewed by most of the world, allies badly needed, as an immoral grab for oil. Any national security steps we take anywhere near an oil well is viewed as criminal. If we would be making all our fuel and plastic more cheaply from sources other than oil, it would be just America vs those that commit atrocities like 9/11. And we would have nearly all the world militarily on our side.
The so-called 'ShockWave' report includes 'unrest in Nigeria' as one of their scenarios.

I'm sure wealth disparities, neglect, corruption and abuse in Nigeria go a long way to explain the unrest there. I'm surprised, however, that I've not seen any stories about potential geopolitics of the situation.

If I were a leader in Russia, say, or another country (or group) arguably not primarily motivated by benign good will towards the U.S., and, say, still reeling somewhat by a generation's war experience in Afghanistan (or other perceived historical U.S. aggression or competitive threat), wouldn't I be tempted to support groups like MEND by way of rendering the U.S. weaker?

Is it not happening, I wonder? Have I simply missed reporting on it, or is it happening but not getting reported, or is it taboo because we'd hate to give someone the idea if by some chance it hadn't occurred to them? Oops. Or maybe we wouldn't like raised the idea that U.S. aggressions might spawn future such paybacks?

Geoplitics? There are none. This is Africa we're talking about. It's 2006, not 1886. They have nothing but oil. We want it. End of story. You feel sorry for the people who live in Bonny? Then stop driving a car.
That answer is simply too flip.  Come on; you can do better than that.
Maybe it sounded flip, but it was concise. I know a little about African history, politics, and oil-history and I could go on all day about it. But you can boil it all down to my above comment. Making the issues more complicated really doesn't serve any purpose.

African oil-rentier states make those in the Mid-East look like Norway. Nothing short of completely dictating how their economies are run will change anything. Look at Chad and its run-in with the World Bank.

And the poor people - if you stoppes buying the countries oil - they would have even less than the nothing they have now. Maybe you have a solution.

Ever heard of Ken Saro-Wiwe? I don't even think Nigeria makes the list of countries the US has a problem with.

Ken Saro-Wiwa was a corrupt demagogue who, by the magic of PR, managed to turn himself into a hero.
Really? The common understanding was that he was executed for something he didn't do. Maybe you'd like to enlighten us.
Yes, he was executed for a crime he either didn't commit, (or at least wasn't proven to have committed). That doesn't make him innocent either of being a demagogue or of being corrupt. He enriched himself by corruption when he was a Commissioner under the Gowon military government in the 1970s. Maybe his later activism under Abacha was a good thing on balance, but he was certainly a demagogue.
That maybe so, but I don't think this is really about Saro-Wiwe's previous transgressions. It's about the Nigerian Government's role. What about the other 9 people excuted with him? Were they equally deserving of their ends in your opinion?
The final eloquent words of Ken Saro Wiwa:

My lord,

We all stand before history. I am a man of peace, of ideas. Appalled by the denigrating poverty of my people who live on a richly endowed land, distressed by their political marginalization and economic strangulation, angered by the devastation of their land, their ultimate heritage, anxious to preserve their right to life and to a decent living, and determined to usher to this country as a whole a fair and just democratic system which protects everyone and every ethnic group and gives us all a valid claim to human civilization, I have devoted my      intellectual and material resources, my very life, to a cause in which I have total belief and from which I cannot be blackmailed or intimidated.

I have no doubt at all about the ultimate success of my cause, no matter the trials and tribulations which I and those who believe with me may encounter on our journey. Nor imprisonment nor death can stop our ultimate victory.

I repeat that we all stand before history. I and my colleagues are not the only ones on trial. Shell is here on trial and it is as well that it is represented by counsel said to be holding a watching brief.

The Company has, indeed, ducked this particular trial, but its day will surely come and the lessons learnt here may prove useful to it for there is no doubt in my mind that the ecological war that the Company has waged in the Delta will be called to question sooner than later and the crimes of that war be duly punished. The crime of the Company's dirty wars against the Ogoni people will also be punished.

On trial also is the Nigerian nation, its present rulers and those who assist them. Any nation which can do to the weak and disadvantaged what the Nigerian nation has done to the Ogoni, loses a claim to independence and to freedom from outside influence.

I am not one of those who shy away from protesting injustice and oppression, arguing that they are expected in a military regime. The military do not act alone. They are supported by a gaggle of politicians, lawyers, academics and businessmen, all of them hiding under the claim that they are only doing their duty, men and women too afraid to wash their pants of urine. ...

As we subscribe to the sub-normal and accept double standards, as we lie and cheat openly, as we protect injustice and oppression, we empty our classrooms, denigrate our hospitals, fill our stomachs with hunger and elect to make ourselves the slaves of those who ascribe to higher standards, pursue the truth, and honor justice, freedom, and hard work.

I predict that the scene here will be played and replayed by generations yet unborn. Some have already cast themselves in the role of villains, some are tragic victims, some still have a chance to redeem themselves. The choice is for each individual. I predict that the denouement of the riddle of the Niger delta will soon come. The agenda is being set at this trial. Whether the peaceful ways I have favored will prevail depends on what the oppressor decides, what signals it sends out to the waiting public.

In my innocence of the false charges I face here, in my utter conviction, I call upon the Ogoni people, the peoples of the Niger delta, and the oppressed ethnic minorities of Nigeria to stand up now and fight fearlessly and peacefully for their rights.

History is on their side. God is on their side. For the Holy Quran says in Sura 42, verse 41: "All those that fight when oppressed incur no guilt, but Allah shall punish the oppressor." Come the day.

--Kenule Beeson Saro-Wiwa

It appears that the "denouement of the riddle of the Niger delta ... " is soon upon us

You just missed it. Check the anti war, anti oil and other environmental sites to find out where trouble is brewing. This kinda stuff don't get to CNN until its already history, past the point of no return and everyone else is wondering where the hell this came from and what the hell anybody can do about it. Colombia, Bolivia, Cameroon, Angola, Chad, Somalia, Indonesia, Philippnes.. its not all about oil either. Just oil is a good target to disrupt government revenues to purchase arms and troops to put the revolutionaries into submission, and guaranteed to get attention, so they go after the wells and pipelines first (if there are any around) Check Napal. No oil involvement there, but the SHTF there too.
A local Rotary club in Cambria California, near Hearst Castle, sent the FIRST team late last year to northern Nigeria to do polio vaccines. It was well supported locally/Nigerian nationally, but it was the first team that went into the field EVER from Rotary and Rotary has a goal (within reach) of eliminating polio off the planet. (Remember two years ago when this was a plot to introduce AIDS by Christian whites?)

Recall that Nigeria is the highest populated nation in Africa and in the 1970's was racked by civil war between the dominate ethnic group and the Christian Ibo's.

By the way, not everything in life/world is about oil. Close though.

I would add to this quite excellent and timely post that Nigeria currently has a total fertility rate of 5.9 and projected to more than double in population by 2050.  This has major implications for the country's stability.  
What stability were you referring to?
Oh, Nigeria's stability, sorry, not the US. Seems to me that the regime could start spending more oil revenues on citizens, try to lift them out of poverty and the result would be to use more of their own oil resources.  Or, just continue the high birthrate, corrupt descent into chaos that is going on now.  Not good either way.
I think his point was that Nigeria is anything but stable.
Geologically speaking, Africa's probably the last region in the world that could significantly increase its production of sweet, light crude.  Politically speaking is a different story, of course.

Methinks Shell made a big mistake, not helping the locals directly while they could.  They might have made a big difference with a relatively small investment.

Not only Shell.  BP-Amoco on the BTC Pipeline in Turkey worth about $1.5 billion in the Turkish segment.  Local aid: their construction contractor was busting local businesses by buying their gasoline from local pumps, billing personnel in local hotels, renting camp power generators, contract medical services, catering... and not paying the bills.  Locals broke past security with guns trying to find the finance manager so they could try to get him to pay the bills.  BP will tell you its not their fault.  Why? Because they cleverly structured the Turkish contract so that BOTAS was technically responsible for everything.  Hands clean.
That's what I call "penny wise and pound foolish."
As in £
Nigeria is not really a nation-state; more accurate descriptions would be that it is a state of distress, a kleptocracy, a specific example of petrolism combined with tribalism, thuggery, pervasive corruption, poverty and the population trap.

There is no hope whatsover for Nigeria at this point. Conditions are so bad that neither Russia nor China would get involved (especially after the bad experiences the Soviet Union had when it messed around in Africa a few decades ago).

Nigeria is a horror movie that is going to go on and on and get worse and worse. In its future is far more genocide, rapid increase in death rates from multiple causes, and an increased flow of oil money overseas. Unless you have a magic wand to stop the movie, there is nothing constructive you can do except to help your Nigerian friends to escape the country. As individuals, many Nigerians are wonderful people, but they know what is happening; however, given the power of the kleptocrats who rule the country there is nothing the citizenry can do except to riot occasionally to express their despair.

The above post needs to be read and understood. Somebody had to say it, I'm glad it didn't have to be me this time. No truer words have been written.
Look, I'm not going to argue that Nigeria isn't in horrendous shape.  But it's way too convenient to wash our hands of the whole situation by saying that it's hopeless.  

Nigeria is not Congo, for instance, where over 3 million people have died in the last 10 years and there truly is no government in most of the country. So the situation could get much worse;  the flip side is that while making things much better for Nigeria may be too much to hope for in the short term, there could easily be things we could do to prevent it from getting worse.  Not all of those things even have to involve oil.

At this point, any attempt at "regime change" by the United States in Nigeria would be viewed with great suspicion by much of the rest of the world. And further, how do you stabilize the region? The militant forces appear well-organized and now have a goal - they want that profit for themselves (which they claim will be for the people of Nigeria but only time will tell if that is true).

The militants have zero reason to believe any promises made by BP, Shell or other corporations. They have zero reason to believe any promises made by their own government. They are desperate and rightly so. Violence is going to follow. About the only thing that Shell or BP could do ethically and still retain some hope of getting back into the country later to pump oil at a subsequent time is to abandon ship now and state that the reason is the corruption of the Nigerian government. But that means foregoing all the current oil profits and modern corporations are not structured to give a damn about ethics, just profit. Hence, BP and Shell will be there til they are driven out by force, and then BP and Shell will use political money to buy an existing administration (this one or the next, regardless of party) to rescue them from their self-imposed stupidity.

Thus I agree with Don Sailorman and Oil CEO in this case - it's going to get worse. Yes, those corporations could do something to alleviate the poverty, etc., but they probably won't. Altruism is not in their perceived 90 day bottom line interest, even if it would be in their interest 5 years down the line.

It is indeed unfortunate that oil companies (or any company) feels so desperate to make a profit that they must get in bed with all these corrupt governments.  This just fuels the fires.  Wouldn't it be more favorable for all concerned if the oil companies made the local federal governments share revenue within the oil producting regions using company administered aid programs as part of the conditions for their presense, or would that require that such a revenue sharing law be passed in the companies own corporate home countries???
At this point, any attempt at "regime change" by the United States in Nigeria would be viewed with great suspicion by much of the rest of the world.

It is indeed unfortunate that oil companies (or any company) feels so desperate to make a profit that they must get in bed with all these corrupt governments.

You guys seem to think the problem is corruption at the top, or that "regime change" would bring a better government to power. It is not, and it would not. Government corruption in the form of self-enrichment by senior politicians never held back any country from development -- look at Asia. Also, Nigeria's stability is extremely fragile, and any attempt at "regime change" or similar nonsense would result in an explosion of anomie that would make Iraq look like a picnic. Probably, the country will split up soon, anyway. The only thing preventing it from doing so is that the North wants to stay to enjoy the off-shore oil revenue.

Government corruption in the form of self-enrichment by senior politicians never held back any country from development -- look at Asia.

The key difference between Asia and Central America/Africa/Eastern Europe is that in Asia they first built their economy and then they got corruption. In the other countries they are trying to do the opposite, quite unsuccessfully so far.

In the 1920s and 1930s Iceland was a Danish colony (recently with limited home rule) and was also the poorest region of Europe, poorer than Albania.  They exited colonialism with, oddly enough, the help of the British in 1940.

Today, they are second only to Norway, with it's oil riches, as being the richest nation in Europe.

A stunning reversal in a single lifetime.

How did they do it ?

Several factors, high literacy (the epic novel of the 1930s has a poor sheep farmer who ate only one meal in the spring but wrote extremely complex poetry), exiting Danish colonialism (although they still keep several Icelandic national treasures), winning two "Cod Wars" against the Royal Navy and then superb fisheries management, democratic traditions, infrastructure investments but also an extreme lack of corruption.

A Minister took $6,000 worth of surplus materials (leftover lumber & concrete) from the State Opera for his farm.  He got two years (served 18 months) in prison.

Of the 117 nations surveyed (mentioned on this thread) Iceland has the lowest level of corruption (New Zealand tied for #2).

There is no doubt in my mind that corruption is a tax upon the economy and society that slows development in myriad different ways.  Often it is not what is stolen, but what is ruined by lack of confidence in the gov't.

Steal from schools, the children and later society suffer from a lack educated workers and leaders.  Because funds for schools are stolen, people are reluctant to spend money on schools.  Education. and later society, suffers even more.

Actually the tax part would not be that of a problem as long as the "tax base" was growing.

In my experience corruption acts as a cancer to the society, not only the economy. It is not only the burdens and expenses with paying to somebody, it is utterly demoralizing. In a corrupted country people lose faith they can get a decent living being honest and start practicing "small-scale corruption" everywhere, even in their personal lives. The results are totally devastating - nobody wants to work, at work people shirk, bosses tend to apply negative motivation etc. I can talk about the resulting picture for hours so I'd better stop :)

It's an old game, especially in Africa, but one thing's for sure - kleptocrats that bad don't stay in power long without plenty of outside help; and one has to wonder how much longer this model can continue as oil gets harder and harder to extract? Meaning: one can no longer simply use the light-sweet from the middle east to subsidize one's plans elsewhere, when even that light sweet is getting dangerously expensive.

Regardless, smells like a proxy war to me.

It might smell like a proxy war, OverToasty, but it almost certainly is not. Back in the late 1970s I worked in the head office of a major multinational pharmaceutical company, largely with its marketing division. Nigeria was the hell assignment, the salesmen would willingly go anywhere else, I heard plenty of first hand reports of the corruption etc. That was relatively soon after the Biafra war and famine but things don't seem to have improved in the 30 years since.

It's hard to see how any non-kleptocrat could come to power in Nigeria, with or without external support. One might be hard pushed to find many non-kleptocrats at any level of the political system or state employ. Oil just exacerbates the endemic problems and wealth disparity, is probably more a curse than blessing.

As to regime change I would ask to what and with what objective? The likelihood of ensconcing a stable regime of any kind which fostered sufficient security to permit the exploitation of its oil is probably so minimal as to be foolish. In the long term the break up of Nigeria, which is a huge and diverse country in both area and population, may be in the best interests of those wishing to exploit its oil reserves, if just to simplify the problem. I'm not aware that any external countries are currently embarked on that road, would be interested if anyone knows otherwise.  

Fair enough - I know of no more hard information than what's been generally available, so I can't add much.

However, I disagree on the amount to which corruption - of a degree measurable only on a logarithmic scale - is seen as inevitable, barring external factors, vis a vis oil; especially if corruption's "specific gravity" is lowered by way of making certain those who don't cannibalize the public good, aren't rewarded for their conscience with possible starvation.

In these days when an ounce sympathy could be worth mega-barrels, informed sympathy might finally be the shrewdest investment ...

... and the ghost of Lord Kitchener may finally rest in peace.  

A report by the Stakeholder Democracy Network, an anti-corruption campaign group active in the region, and reported in the UK Observer suggests that by 2008 that Shell and other foreign oil companies will be forced to confine themselves to off-shore production facilities. It estimates that 'bunkering' diverts 10% of Nigerian oil production.
Back in December the NYT visited Ebocha, Nigeria, to report on the conditions of the miserable people who have to live next to the natural gas flares, columns of fire that have been burning 24/7 since the 1970s. (Anyone else out there remember the photos they published? Night looked like day, and people wandered around under the flames looking dazed.) Imagine living in such a place!

Here's a snipped from that article:

Just about everyone in Ebocha seems eager to see the flames snuffed, but many people find it hard to imagine this place without them. The flares quite literally define the place: its name means place of light.

Businesses like One for the Road, with its cooler of beer and phalanx of prostitutes, depend on plant workers as customers. Children scamper beneath the fiery glow to collect crunchy beetles that are fried up and eaten as a local delicacy. Over time the town has stretched closer and closer to the plant, and many of the residents are people who came from all across Nigeria to open businesses here because it is the workers who have money to spend. Many young residents have lived their whole lives under the flares.

At One for the Road, Lucky Ekberi and friends gathered around an empty table. Mr. Ekberi, 24, said he could not remember a time when his nights were not illuminated by the flares.

"It is always there," he said, the orange glow reflected in his liquid eyes. "It never goes out. It makes us sick, and many times my eyes are hurt. Crops don't grow well."

Like his friends, Mr. Ekberi describes himself as an "applicant," a euphemism for jobless, because in truth there are few jobs to apply for here. Despite its vast oil and gas reserves, the Niger Delta is perhaps the poorest part of a nation where most people live in extreme poverty.

I found a related post Unrest in Nigeria could spark rise in oil prices...NRP. It's pretty good, worth reading.

From this State Department report Role of West Africa in our Energy Security from July of 2004.

"Bunkering," or stealing, crude oil from pipelines in the Niger Delta remains a critical concern. While it is difficult to accurately determine the extent of bunkering, estimates are that between 75,000 and 150,000 b/d of crude oil are stolen daily. This oil makes its way through illicit channels to markets with the substantial earnings funding various illicit activities in the Delta, including the introduction by local militias of increasingly sophisticated weapons into the region. The Nigerian government recognizes the critical nature of this problem, especially the effect it has had on the level of violence. The government is working to reduce bunkering, but more must be done.
Re Bunkering: It looks like the same thing is going on in Iraq to fund the insurgency. According to the NYT:

Iraqi and American officials say they are seeing a troubling pattern of government corruption enabling the flow of oil money and other funds to the insurgency and threatening to undermine Iraq's struggling economy.

Insurgents have infiltrated the management of the Baiji refinery and have routinely terrorized truck drivers and stolen oil, an Iraqi official said.

Money intended to be used to protect the Baiji pipeline was stolen. In Iraq, which depends almost exclusively on oil for its revenues, the officials say that any diversion of money to an insurgency that is killing its citizens and tearing apart its infrastructure adds a new and menacing element to the challenge of holding the country together.

In one example, a sitting member of the Iraqi National Assembly has been indicted in the theft of millions of dollars meant for protecting a critical oil pipeline against attacks and is suspected of funneling some of that money to the insurgency, said Radhi Hamza al-Radhi, the chairman of Iraq's Commission on Public Integrity. The indictment has not been made public.

The charges against the Sunni lawmaker, Meshaan al-Juburi, lend credence to the suspicions of Iraqi officials that the insurgency is profiting from Iraq's oil riches.

The people's distaste for having the powers that be control energy wealth has spread to Pakistan where "Tribal militants fired hundreds of rockets at a gas field and paramilitary base in Pakistan's troubled southwest." L8109_RTRUKOC_0_UK-PAKISTAN-VIOLENCE.xml&archived=False
Great post as usual.
When you look at Crude&Condensate(exclude NGL's)Nigeria is even more significant than the OGJ article indicates.
Based on averages for 11 months of 2005 Nigeria is the 8th largest producer and will have displaced Norway for 7th spot in the last couple of months unless lost production in Nigeria has exceeded declinein Norway.
In contrast to the finance ministers statements production increases year on year seem to be getting smaller not larger due to the problems highlighted in Daves post.

Another problem for US supply is the fact that the UK provided an average of 400,000 bpd of crude and product to the US to end of Nov 05 but also that year became a net oil importer. Don't see how this can continue. What did US do - threaten a run on Sterling?

In addition how much longer will it make sense for Canada to supply US with 2.139 million bpd of crude and product whilst importing 1.2 million bpd from around the world (predominantly Europe).
What the hell is in that FTA?

In the case of Canada, remember that it is a very large country geographically, and that it may be simpler, given existing infrastructure, to export oil produced in one region to the US while importing oil in another region. Remember that oil is global and prices are not set by region so Canada neither gains nor loses while this remains true. All that what you suggest would accomplish is altering the flow of oil globally. It would not reduce price in Canada, for instance, short of Canada subsidizing oil consumption, which would send precisely the wrong message to consumers.
Oil generally is fungible, oil specifically is not.

North Sea oil is very light, high quality oil with high gasoline yields.  It would not make sense to use this valuable oil for low quality applications (bunker oil for ships & power plants, asphalt/bitumen).  So UK exports the good stuff and imports the low quality stuff.

Cars in the EU are going towards diesel, trucking is a larger transporter of goods there than US, so the EU needs more diesel in their mix, the US more gasoline.

UK may be a new oil importer by volume, bur perhaps not by value (yet).

This post suggests that the majority of oil in Nigeria comes from ONSHORE production, yet also shows that foreign oil workers increasingly only feel safe on the offshore platforms. This seems to me to be one of those situations where the 'political depletion rate' greatly exceeds the 'geological depletion rate' - at some level of violence here, oil workers will just not work and effectively their exports drop to zero. Question to the few neo-classical economists out there: IF Nigerian unrest would cause no onshore oil to be pumped AND Iran stops oil exports to world market) AND Venezuala timely announces some plan not to export to certain areas, how much of a body blow would 8mbpd be to the world system? Clearly prices would skyrocket and demand destruction would set in - but in my opinion, this drop would be more than enough to stop the system cold.

The IEA, if you dig deep enough, has posted by-laws that if the world production drops by 5%, has 'demand-restraint' bylaws for its 100+ member countries of 4 day workweek, curfews, odd-even driving days depending on liscence plate etc - ironically (and not surprisingly) there is a footnote on the US policy sub-IEA (I cant seem to find it but Ive read it) that says somethig to the effect that since the US has 120 days of SPR instead of the mandatory 90 days, that we are exempt from the demand restraint rules - and that 'research' had shown that demand restraint was too destabilizing for the US economy. I kid thee not...

There is like a 200 page document that backs up this presentation on demand restraint laws - Ill keep looking.
I've been offered 4 jobs in Nigeria (offshore) during the last 1.5 years; 3 in the last 3 months.  I havn't taken any of them.
I know a fat fiftyish South African mercenery soldier with a bad back: He was just offered $350,000 (U.S. dollars) for a year's contract in Nigeria. He is thinking about it.
That's interesting company you keep, DS ;)

He could probably ask for and get $400,000 tomorrow.

Don't you suspect there's a very good reason for an offer that big?

After it pays for a prosthetic limb, reconstructive surgery, and rehab, you might even have some spending money left over.

Such a deal!

He turned down the offer but made a counter offer of $100,000 per month for three months, to be followed by month-to-month renewal and a $500,000 bonus if he stays a whole year and fulfills his (mostly training) contract.

"They" are thinking about it now.

He's not the nicest guy in the world (unreconstructed Africaner who boasts of what he has done), but if you want to know what is going on in the world, it helps to listen to some unpleasant people who know things.

He should take it.  Foreign expats have been feasting on Nigeria for a longtime, before the situation became tenous.  I know guys from Baton Rouge who couldn't make $40K/year in the U.S. who have made millions working in Nigeria over reasonable periods. Now its "security experts" turn. Given the odds based on actual foreign worker injury and mortality data - close to zero actually, he most probably comes out without a stratch on any part of his body. Worst scenario is he gets kidnapped and released. This has already happened to quite a number of "security experts".
Lot of ifs there but, if all oil exports from Nigeria, Venezuela, Iran were suddenly ceased (a reduction of about 5 to 6 mbpd in total exports, I calculate) the price would initially spike to perhaps $200 - I estimate - before dropping back to maybe $150 in about a month assuming the shortfall continues.

If just all Nigeria's exports are stopped the price could spike to $100 then settle back to around $75.

Interesting that IEA snippet of yours, one could reasonably assume that governments have taken note of this IEA guidance. Amusing and probably correct the US comment, maybe sinister in that one could read into it: other countries would be expected to curtail consumption so the US need not. Perhaps a tacit recognition of military and political reality? I would like to see the 'research' though I would be surprised if it is easily available.

The Nigerian kleptocrats take their money out of
their country and stash it in international
These should be named and shamed. They are
accessories to theft and terrorism.
The have no shame.
Recall that Idi Amin, a monster in the Hitler, Stalin, and Pol Pot league ended his days in wealth and honor and a surfeit of sex not long ago . . . . in the land of our great friend and ally and oil supplier . . . where else? Saudi Arabia.
How do you suppose the little canibal got his residence visa?  <No presupposition intended.  I don't even want to WAG.>
Several posts here speak of the corruption in Nigeria. Corruption always seems to mean taking of bribes, big or little, by officials in countries where the big corporations are extracting resources. The payment of these bribes by the corporations, and the extraction of the resources at great profit to the corporations, is never or rarely described as corruption.

The Nigerian government is not corrupt---it is deeply, deeply corrupted. By whom? I was a Peace Corps Volunteer there in the early 60s. It was deeply corrupted then. My students knew that, but said they would change things. Alas, not yet. Like someone here joked, I'll know they are starting to succeed when we here about WMDs and the threat Nigeria represents to Western civilization.

"hear about WMDs"--not "here"

Speaking of corruption, there is a table at:

It lists in 2005 Nigeria just above Haiti and sixth from the bottom out of 156 nation states.

Interesting that Iceland is #1 and New Zealand is tied for #2.  US is #17.
Very interesting indeed . . . and of the 50 states of the U.S.A., where does Louisiana rank in terms of corruption?

And which U.S. states are least corrupt?

Least corrupt ?  Probably Minnesota.  Didn'y a governor get in trouble for letting his daughter use a state car a couple of decades ago ?

Most corrupt ?

City, certainly San Diego ranks.  Three mayors in three weeks, US Congressman to jail.  (Perhaps if we have a severe earthquake in SD, relief will be sent first to the D voting areas that did not elect such corrupt politicans, and any one from R voting areas that tries to walk to the D pickup areas will be chased back with police gunfire until all of the D's are safely evacuated).

States - New Jersey and Arkansas.  Louisiana no longer ramks due to some honest politicans we have elected recently. No longer do bumper stickers say "Vote for the Crook, It's Important" to keep out David Duke.

Last governor was not that bright, but quite honest.  Current governor is honest, but her husband is not.  Nagin is quite honest, almost extremely so (when nephew was to be arrested on sting, they asked him about it.  He said treat him like everyone else.  Don't point him out during "perp walk" or tell media immediately that he is my nephew).  True reformer, although he was "running out of steam" before Katrina.

New Orleans School Board & our US Congressman were last major bastions of corruption.

I think NJ, NY and CT are about equally corrupt.  I was really glad I was cycling to work one morning, because Waterbury City Hall was jammed with news vehicles.  Mayor Giordano was being hauled away.  They had been investigating his campaign finances, but found that he was also a pederast.  Several other CT mayors were in trouble that year, too.

Some years earlier, I was painting my aunt's house in Greenwich.  She told me she had tried to change trash service, but the guy had made it really clear to her that was a bad idea.  The decision had already been made, if you know what I mean.  She told me this because the guy from the gardening service wanted to know who the hell I was, painting her house.  I guess I wasn't in the club.


I wonder if Australia might not take a tumble on this years list after the Australian Wheat Board and Oil for Food Programme scandal.

Like the Bush Administration our govt is very good at saying it didn't know simply because it didn't WANT to know.

BHP is also involved.

No Australia will not take a tumble. Remember that these are corrpution "perception" indices. Not actual analyses of amount of corruption going on. While the information is indicative, it is not exact, and certain countries get more benefit or  otherwise than they deserve in any particular year because of their longer run histories and also because the people who are doing the "perceiving" are not necessarily a normal distribution of the world's population.
We Americans are (usually) most concerned with the price and supply of oil that comes out of this region, but there's an even greater toll. I'm surprised at how little coverage is given to the human rights situation occurring throughout the Delta. I'm working on some projects with the founders of the Ken Saro Wiwa Foundation, who had to provide me with a historical primer on the origins of this situation. I really didn't consider the human impact until now.

Of course, like many of the problems in the developing world, there is bloody history of neocolonial occupation, imperialism, war, and of course corruption, but there is even more at play. It's as if Africa is being raped of its resources yet again (let's not even speak of proposed jatropha and palm oil plantations to supply Europe's thirst for biodiesel). The environmental damage wrought by Royal Dutch Shell's operations are immense, so much so that they've destroyed many of the local industries such as fishing and farming. I speak almost weekly with a friend in Port Harcourt, and he assures me the situation is much worse, and much more complex than what is presented in the MSM. Let's not forget there are people and families struggling in all of this. I can only imagine how bad it'll be after any global peak is recognized.

Sincerely, and with no irony intended, you do not want to imagine how bad it will be after peak oil.

There is one big difference between hell and Nigeria.

Hell is fictional.

Don, lightheartedly disagree.  My old T-shirt said it all.  

"Riyah ain't Hell, but we can see it from here."  

56ºC (132.8ºF) IN THE SHADE!

Nigeria is fictional too. It is not a nation, but a political fiction cobbled together by Britain in 1960 from three regions that had been administered separately under colonialism, and it nearly split apart in 1966, but unfortunately was kept together with British help.

Now, it remains in permanent unstable tension between North and South: the mainly Christian South has all the oil, while the Muslim North has most of the guns.

Most of West Africa is split this way, and the Ivory Coast problem is of a similar nature.

A good illustration of the situation facing this part of the world (and others) can be found in Robert Kaplan's book The Ends of the Earth: a Journey to the Frontiers of Anarchy.
Don't forget you usually only see the dramatic pictures with the flares roaring, smoking and flashing all night or the spills.  There's thousands of other "little incidents" that happen every day that nobody in the "civilized" world would stand for without calling a lawyer or even breaking out the granade launchers.

20 years ago I still remember a helicopter, joy-ridding the co execs down the pipeline, comes over my block valve station.  It hovers over the only plainly visible bamboo house within 1 km of the area, with the freshly washed laundry hanging outside, of a family that I'd been trying to "pacify" since construction began.  It completely filled the house to the rafters with a dust tornado and nearly wound up just blowing it away, not to mention that the laundry looked like the cows dragged it around for a week.  Its like they're just not satisfied with only killing the fish.  I worked that station for another 2 weeks, we closed it when the new river crossing opened.  1 week after that, "guerillas" blew up the station.  

Nigeria is in desparate straights.  On the corruption index posted above Nigeria is listed below Afghanistan, Somalia, the Sudan, and the Palestinian territories.  Below, a brand new governement in a country that has had only one effective governement in the last 25 years(the Taliban), a country that has been in a state of complete anarchy for at least the last 15 years with literally no central government, a brutal genocidic military dictatorship, and a place that isn't even a country.

This is not good.  To be honest I don't see much hope for Africa, not just Nigeria.  They have too much disease, too many children, not enough arable land, not to mention all of the problems coming out of colonialism.  Random boundaries, ethnic groups being split and thrown together, traditional power stuctures destroyed, new ones not arising to take their place.
"Things fall apart, the center cannot hold"

28 Jan 2006

Total receives first shipment from NLNG train 4
Total says that its first cargo of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) from Nigeria LNG (NLNG) train 4 left Bonny Island bound for Spain, as part of the 1.15 million metric tons per annum (MTPA) sales and purchase agreement signed between Total Gas & Power Ltd. and NLNG to off take LNG from trains 4, 5 and 6.

NLNG's Train 4 started production in fourth quarter 2005 and Train 5 is currently being prepared to start in February. These two trains will increase

NLNG's production capacity by 8 MTPA to over 17 MTPA. Train 6, currently under construction, will further increase the plant capacity by 4 MTPA.

Total holds a 15% stake in NLNG, a Nigerian Joint Venture company whose other shareholders are the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (49%), Shell (25.6%) and ENI (10.4%)

Just stumbled across this place from google. Some of the stuff posted here hard to swallow, but true. At the same time a lot of ignorance posing as knowledge here, which is fairly typical. For example anyone here ever bother to calculate the net amount of Oil $ take per Nigerian citizen and tell me how enormous that really is?

My handle reflects who I am. I also worked in the E&P sector over there for a decade, I am in America now, not flipping burgers, but working on issues and in roles that allow me to "see" things very well. I believe I know this country (USofA) also very well so, I think I have a good perspective to comment. Will post more on specific comments I have seen here when I get some time, or if I see any more truly wild assed "Nigeria or Africa has no hope" crap without any data backup or real understanding of history. Bottom line is, yes Nigeria and most of Africa is down today and many places have truly serious problems but people making silly prognostications on the basis of single point data of "today" in history don't understand the how history truly works.

Using a price of $40 per barrel and production of 9.5mbpd - Saudi Arabia, with a population of 21,000,000 (I include only nationals) would generate roughly $6600 per person per year in Oil Revenue. Saudi has per capita GDP of $12,900 (I don't know if that is calculated with a total population of 26.5 million persons).

Using the same $40 per barrel figure and 2.5mbpd - Nigeria, with a population of 129,000,000 would generate only $283 per person per year. Nigeria has per capita GDP of $1000.

With all due respect, there is as much knowledge on this site(or lack thereof) regarding Nigeria as any other country. If somebody is getting something wrong, please point that out and offer a correction. Please don't insult us by saying we don't understand how history "truly" works without providing the slightest bit of evidence that you do.

Oil CEO, I would have said this more privately but you don't supply an email addy (that has convinced me to reveal one of mine), someone trod on your tail last Friday or soon before. Though this is probably obvious from your posts here it is screaming at me in a 'feel' sense, even though I try to shut that down most of the time on boards like this.

I hope it's not as bad as it feels, if there is any way I might be of help please say. I'm sorry to have spoken in public like this but I had to speak, I mean no criticism and speak as friend.

I'm not sure of the exact situation you refer to, but I could probably pick from a handful. I know I draw a lot of fire for my positions on some things, and that's OK. I do appreciate your support, though.
Then reflect, if you haven't worked it out already; something big is eating at you these last few days. See it and accept it. Do something about it if you can but it feels like something you have no effective control over, understand that and put it to one side insofar as you can. It is nothing to do with this place, it is much more fundamental to your life, you will know what it is. If you don't then you are avoiding that recognition, be brave enough to look and know what it means for you. I think I have said enough for you to work things out for yourself, it's been a challenge to do so in public, in a sufficiently vague (I hope) way. Be good, blessedbe
Hmmm. Mysterious. Not sure what you're getting at, but I'll certainly keep it in mind. Last few days? I've been reading 'A Thousand Barrels a Day' and thinking how spot on this guy is. Have to rework my own book so I'm not covering the same ground. I come here to discuss oil and am a little frustrated that the talk focuses on Dilbert and misses the NYT editorial today; Focuses on Nigeria, but completely misses the front page-story on Chad yesterday which has equally important implications. And of course, the whole 9/11 conspiracy thing yesterday, I just wish that would go away.
Chad? You are referring to Chad's Oil Riches, Meant for Poor, Are Diverted?

Same sad story. Now if Chad were as big a producer and exporter as Nigeria is ... sorry, the implications are not the same at this point.

The focus on Nigeria this weekend is because MEND is blowing shit up in the Niger Delta and have already reduced that country's production 20%. I expect we may see the same in Chad sometime in the future....

I agree about Dilbert but that strip gets lots of attention. Certainly more than Nigeria and much more than Chad. I didn't make the world, but I have to live in it.

Hang in there, OilCEO.

In reference to Chad, you are correct, the production is miniscule at 200,000 bpd. However, it's in the details of the story.

More and more oil is going to be coming from these rinky-dink places as the price of crude rises to the point where it becomes economically feasible. At that is where the implication is important.

ExxonMobil, Chevron, and others spent $4 Billion on this pipeline and I'm assuming other infrastructure with the understanding that the World Bank would back the deal by financing Chad's side of the deal. Now the World Bank is pulling out.

So where does that leave the IOC's? We often remark here about how the Giant Oil Companies are the bad-guys and aren't doing this and that the way we would like them to, but here is evidence that they are engaging in extremely risky investments in really sketchy parts of the world to bring us the black gold that we crave so much.

Then you have the World Bank, run by, yes, Paul Wolfowitz, or "Wolfy" as I believe Maureen Dowd likes to call him - everybody's favorite neocon. But one would have to admit, Wolfowitz is doing the morally admirable thing here.

Of course, now that everyone, thanks to Dilbert knows what fungible means, if the Western Majors pull out and write off their $4B plus all the lost revenue from pumping that oil for the next 25 years - we know that the Chinese will just step in - not caring one ounce for the people.

Of course, I don't know what will happen in this case, but I do know that it is a common sentiment in the oil industry that you cut all kinds of deals with these countries, but then as soon as the oil starts flowing and the money starts rolling in, these corrupt goverments force "re-negotiation."

Operating in that environment is so complicated and difficult, we as citizens, and moral beings sometimes don't even want to face the issue of Africa. But these oil companies do it everyday.

Why do you stoop to the folly of disguised ad hominem attacks? Your comments on Oil CEO are nothing more than veiled versions of the old fallacies trotted out by rabid Freudians (not by Freud himself) to the effect that: "You poor thing, you disagree with me because of your neurosis/defense mechnisms/unresolved Oedipal conflicts."

No matter how disguised, an ad hominem attack is just that--and utterly fallacious.

I am sure you have completely misunderstood DS, I'm a bit surprised, all I can suggest is you re-read with a more open mind. My posts above are exactly as they are, in good faith and said with a good heart, there is no subterfuge or veiled criticicism or manipulation in them. I was in the difficult position of having to communicate with OC but having no private route to do so.

On a trivial point, I majored in psychology in the mid 1970s and have the misfortune of being well acquainted with Freud's work and that of his self appointed apostles. I fundamentally disagree with a large portion of his and their thesis and I would never make use of it in any way.

I'm interested in why you perceived and reacted to my comments above so and would like to explore it. If you are willing and can hold to your previous perception I'd be grateful if you could say. Probably better in private, there's an email addy on my profile now, and I give you absolute assurance that I will not reveal anything you say to anyone without your explicit consent.

Yeah, right.
Welcome, Nigerian, and well found. I hope you will come here often and help us with our understanding of Nigeria and other things. The perception of most here is likely to be very different from the vast majority of Nigerians, please do what you can to inform and correct us. Would be good if you know of some still in Nigeria who may be able to join us here. May I ask what you were searching for on Google and whether you had an awareness of and opinion on peak oil?
From Bloomberg this morning. Nigeria Militants Vow New Attacks Against Oil Sites (Update2)
``Fresh targets will be hit shortly,'' Jomo Gbomo, a self- described spokesman for the militants said today in an e-mailed response to questions. ``There is no shortage of things to destroy.'' The hostages are in good health, he said.

Shell yesterday closed and evacuated its EA offshore field, cutting production by 115,000 barrels a day, and suspended loadings at Forcados, which can export 400,000 barrels a day. Together, the shutdowns represent about a 20 percent reduction in Nigeria's oil export capacity.

As I had mentioned originally, MEND promised to shutdown 30% of Nigeria's production in February. I guess they're still 10% shy of their goal...
I actually agree with some of Nigerian's points. We do appear to generalize far too readily about the state of Nigeria, and the rest of Africa for that matter. Nigeria is a Big country, with a large and rapidly growing population. Of course we are entitled to our opinions, but talking about foreign countries, cultures and peoples, should also be tempered by a little respect and dare I say it, humility. I usually find that the more I learn about a subject, problem, culture, or country; the less I feel I actually "know", and the more I feel I need to "learn". The world's a complecated place after all.

It seems Nigeria is rather irritated with our Western arrogance in realation to his country/continent, and who can really  blame him given the history of Western intervention in Africa? Increasingly we omnipotent and omniscient Westerners are going to be asking ourselves the question, "Why do they hate us?" in realation to the rest of the world. I think they hate us for what we do, not who we are. Unfortunately it appears that this distinction is becoming blurred as our actions/interventions, are increasingly becoming who we are

Re: "Of course we are entitled to our opinions, but talking about foreign countries, cultures and peoples, should also be tempered by a little respect and dare I say it, humility"

I don't know who this remark is directed at.

The Nigerian government is a big part of the problem. As my original post on this subject made clear, the Ijaw ethnic groups of the Niger Delta are getting screwed. I obviously can't speak for everybody who commented on this thread, but I have a lot of sympathy for the people blowing stuff up. But since TOD is a discussion of peak oil and Nigeria is an important producer and exporter, we need to take note of such a serious and understandable development--and not necessarily take sides. That is optional.
I have never known a Nigerian who hated Americans. They have much more serious concerns than hating far-away people. Also, you state that the population of Nigeria is increasing. Oh?
How do you know that?
Does anybody know the true population of Nigeria to the closest 10 million?
Does anybody know when the last accurate census was?
Does anybody have a solid knowledge of the death rate, accurate to within 2 percentage points? If so, how was this data obtained?

As suggested in the recent remake of "King Kong," we should all reread Conrad's "Heart of Darkness."

Yeah, the distinction is becoming blurred because of things people like you say. Like Sailorman says, Nigerians don't hate Americans. You totally confuse the "world" out there by implying they do. I know what you meant. You just didn't say it. Be more careful unless you prefer to be part of the problem.
Devilstower, one of my favorite writers at DailyKos, wrote an article called What's the Matter with Africa?

Made me wonder if Africa will be better off after peak oil, if global trade collapses.  Or will there be ethanol plantations there, instead of coffee and cacao plantations?

Sorry to have been MIA here. Actually posted a nastygram reply to Oil CEO's "you're insulting us" comment several days back. Don't know how it got lost. Any "editing" going on here? Probably a good thing on the balance because that discussion would have led to a black hole.

To Agric: Can't remember exactly how I stumbled here. Could have been yahoo (not google), because they have a blog search engine. Maybe when I typed "Nigeria" in the news search.

I am vaugely familiar with peak oil discussions. I take it y'all take the view that there will be some big coming crunch or something like that as oil dries up. Personally, I take the view of most economists on this issue. In brief: price increases as oil "dries up" will lead to adjustments of energy production and demand, the sky will not fall as a result. There will be short term pain of course, and perhaps that is the usefulness of the various peak oil fora and advocates (Mr. Simmons is the most prominent one I am aware of), they alert to the short term problems (which they mistakenly think of as long term) and the system gets ready for longer term solutions.

Re: Can Nigerians join? I will let whoever has interest find this place on the internet. You may already have others who did not identify themselves, we are quite loquacious, Nigerians are. My own personal foray here is limited and based on a specific whim. I don't want to go around recommending stuff to people, especially as I don't really have fire in my belly for the overall raison d'etre of the blog.

Bring it.
I'll tell you how it got lost, too. It's called - you never sent it. You were MIA because you went away. This thread has been re-threaded from a week ago to the top of the list. Agric, whom I am having a discussion with, decided to give you a shout-out when he saw my week-old comment. Only Agric and I know why that is. Oh, Agric, the cosmic beauty of this thing is too great. I'll be replying to your email tomorrow. I promise, you won't be disappointed. But for now, I'll tell you you were right.

You, My Dear Nigerian, fell for the bait. Good to see you back.

It would be wrong to say I am happy about that but it would have been very unusual for me to have been incorrect. Strange place this universe, LOL.
Thanks Nigerian. I don't think the majority here believe that the sky will fall in when peak oil happens, though some do. This place, TOD, is mostly about exploring and discussing the data and trying to work out what is really going on. Though we do digress a bit, as you've noticed. It's pretty unique.

You post may not have 'taken', there seemed to be a few glitches last week and a couple of my posts failed. It's a very rare occurance here, I'd guess its only happened to 3 of my posts in the last 6 months.

I respect you not encouraging others to come here, that's fine, though it is always useful having people with current first hand knowledge commenting.

If you don't know much about peak oil I'd suggest the following links for a relatively brief but good introduction:

Thanks Agric. I reviewed the wikipedia link, and I stand corrected. I see peak oil people can also include those who do not necessarily see that the world is doomed when oil runs out.

I should point out that if one strictly is interested in peak oil, whatever happens or does not happen in Nigeria probably does not change anything in anyway. The amount of oil in the ground in Nigeria will not change. Temporary production hiccups will have negigilbe impact on the day of reckoning.

And, actually, in one of those beauties about the way the world is organized, your best source of information on how much oil there is in west Africa probably is available at one or both of the large Texas University systems. These data were donated by U.S. oil companies to Texas Universities (A&M or UT, I am not now sure), Obtained by a smart Texas wildcatter, these data became gold. Gene Van Dyke is now a billionaire

In the big scheme of things Nigerian oil isn't as crucial as places like Saudi Arabia and Russia. However, Nigeria is one of the very few countries which have significant export production (about 2.5 mbpd currently I think) and whose production is growing and should continue to grow for some years yet.

If all Nigerian exports suddenly ceased it would cause an immediate global shortfall of production verses demand, it's about as significant as Iran in that context - perhaps more significant to the US since it's the 4th largest exporter to the US. Also a good deal of nigerian oil is high quality, light, sweet. That type is easier to refine into gasoline and global production of it has already peaked in 2004.

Thanks for the Vanco link, I've heard quite a bit about their exploration activities but had not yet checked them out.

 I was talking about peak oil concerns as described in the wikipedia article though. If the concern is strictly about when/whether world peak oil is near or far etc. Whatever happens to Nigeria's production in the short term does not change anything.