News from Nigeria:
Nigeria in Race to Limit Shell Oil Spill
Lagos – Authorities rushed to prevent one of Nigeria’s worst recent oil spills from reaching the West African nation’s shoreline on Thursday, with production from a major Shell field also shut due to the leak.
Shell, which said the leak has been stopped, has estimated that less than 40 000 barrels of crude have spilled into the sea and was deploying ships with dispersants to attack the slick. Planes were also being mobilised.
It was Nigeria’s worst offshore spill since a 1998 Mobil incident, officials said, though onshore leaks have been estimated at levels far worse since that time in the oil-producing Niger Delta.
I am posting an article from The Guardian. This news is a stark reminder that the “resource curse,” is not just a problem of bad governance and corrupt politicians.
The oil giant Shell claimed it had inserted staff into all the main ministries of the Nigerian government, giving it access to politicians’ every move in the oil-rich Niger Delta, according to a leaked US diplomatic cable.
The company’s top executive in Nigeria told US diplomats that Shell had seconded employees to every relevant department and so knew “everything that was being done in those ministries”. She boasted that the Nigerian government had “forgotten” about the extent of Shell’s infiltration and was unaware of how much the company knew about its deliberations.
The cache of secret dispatches from Washington’s embassies in Africa also revealed that the Anglo-Dutch oil firm swapped intelligence with the US, in one case providing US diplomats with the names of Nigerian politicians it suspected of supporting militant activity, and requesting information from the US on whether the militants had acquired anti-aircraft missiles….
Campaigners tonight said the revelation about Shell in Nigeria demonstrated the tangled links between the oil firm and politicians in the country where, despite billions of dollars in oil revenue, 70% of people live below the poverty line.
In a few weeks Ghana’s first oil will ship and lately the news coming from Accra has been less than encouraging. There’s been a lot of talk the past few years about making oil revenues work for the Ghanaian people (with references to avoiding Chad’s problems), but now that the country is moving from talk to action there’s cause for concern.