Big Oil: First Nigeria then the World

Executions, Pollution, and Suffering

The big oil catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico is not the first to threaten a people’s way of life.

Just ask the Ogoni people from Nigeria’s oil rich central Niger Delta. Their experience over decades offers a model of things to come without serious changes in consumption and regulation.

Since the early 1960’s, oil spilled from Shell pipelines has fouled their region. Food and fresh water sources vanished. Their economy collapsed. While Shell and the Nigerian elite reap their rewards, the people in the polluted oil regions live with steadily declining jobs, incomes, and living standards.

The amount of oil spilled in just this region during the 1970’s far exceeds that of the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster. The problem has been continuous since then. Most of it is still sitting there

In some critical ways, oil exploration, pollution, and the reaction of Shell and the Nigerian government parallel the Gulf of Mexico catastrophe.

There is virtually no regulation of oil exploration and operations in Nigeria. Similarly, new deep water drilling permits in the Gulf of Mexico were granted without environmental impact studies.

The government of Nigeria abandoned its sovereign obligations to protect the people by failing to take charge of clean up operations. In the Gulf of Mexico catastrophe, BP took the lead in repair efforts while the United States government accepted an oversight role.

The Nigerian oil industry ignores locals in hiring and contracting. BP uses locals as public relations props for its cleanup operations.

The Nigerian government makes blames oil companies for turning the country into ‘World Oil Pollution Capitol‘, yet does little to stop the situation. The U.S. government is investigating criminal charges against BP while it allows BP control of the crime scene.

Nigerian and international press are chased off of the scene by Shell and the other oil giants just as BP chases away the media and citizens who try to document and report on the Gulf catastrophe.

The Nigerian government blames “rebels” for the oil spills. The government tried and hanged those who resisted what economists call the Dutch Disease, Shell’s ruinous impact in Nigeria’s economy. There have been few demonstrations in the U.S. and no trials of protesters. However, federal whistleblowers who tried to warn the world of what we’re seeing today were ignored.

They can’t do that here. Can they?

It’s happening here right now. Why think the BP catastrophe is the first and last of its kind. There are 4,000 active drilling platforms in the Gulf. BP isn’t the only oil giant to make major mistakes.

Think of it as a lottery. This year it’s BP. Next year it could be Exxon, Shell, or one of the smaller companies.

This deep water drilling foul-up threatens to turn large sections of the Gulf of Mexico into dead zones for decades. It will happen again.

How many dead zones can we tolerate?

Oil at Any Cost

The U.S. consumes 25% of the world’s oil supplies. The breakneck pace of exploration and extraction activity worldwide is a direct outcome of that consumption. The Nigerian oil spills, the deaths, the suffering, and the long term pollution are an outcome of the voracious consumption of oil led by the oil dependent G-20 nations.

New G-20 club members are ready to join the first world’s oil orgy. China consumes 10% of the global oil supply currently. That figure will soar over the next few years. India represents another rapidly expanding market for oil. The two combined will soon shove the U.S. into third place among the major nations reliant this toxic substance.

Drilling for oil in the Gulf of Mexico is directly tied to the demands of U.S. consumers. The public must quickly make the links between oil dependence, human suffering, and the destruction of the habitat.

Solutions Offered

The American Power Act was hailed as the grand effort that would change the face of U.S. energy consumption and dependence. Analysis of the act shows that it maintains oil as a key pillar of the economy. Assumed oil use in 2030 is about the same as it is today and today we’ve got BP ruining the Gulf of Mexico with other disasters pending.

Doesn’t it occur to our so-called leaders that we’re in a crisis situation?

We can’t maintain our society, as it stands now, without maintaining big oil. That means more major catastrophes that will foul large segments of the earth; the places where we live and earn our living.

Industry friendly analysts say there’s no way to get rid of oil it as they deride alternative fuels. The rulers assent by accepting this false premise. This is their excuse to issue more drilling permits in ever riskier locations.

And no one in the power structure has the courage to call out the G-20 governments and oil concerns (many of which are government run).

We’re in a death spiral of industrial calamities that are all for the sake of producing petroleum products that will, in turn, create another set of appalling calamities called man made climate change.

Major regions of the world stand in peril from looming Gulf of Mexico class catastrophes. And all the oil companies and their friends can say is: You’re stuck with us. Give us more drilling permits now.

Where’s the leadership, the innovation, the mobilization like that seen for the fateful project that created an entirely new form of energy, the Manhattan Project?

How about a Manhattan Project to save the planet?

Michael Collins writes for Scoop Independent News and a variety of other web publications on election fraud and other corruptions of the new millennium. He is one of few to report on the ongoing struggles of Susan Lindauer, an activist accused of being a foreign agent, who was the subject of a government request for forced psychiatric medication. This article may be reproduced in whole or in part with attribution of authorship, a link to this article, and acknowledgment of images. Read other articles by Michael, or visit Michael's website.

20 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Don Hawkins said on June 18th, 2010 at 12:23pm #

    It’s the responsibility of all of us who spend time in these places to come back and act as best we can as ambassadors for the places that we love. It becomes very real when you see first hand the places that we all read about and you see the extent of the ice melting in the Arctic. You speak to the scientists up there and you see the work they’re doing and you really start to appreciate how serious the predicament is. I hope when I come back I’ll put quite a lot of work into talking to companies and businesses and communities and trying to spread that message. Guardian

  2. Don Hawkins said on June 18th, 2010 at 12:38pm #

    The death toll from the worst flooding in southeastern France in more than 180 years rose to 25 yesterday, local authorities said.

    Tuesday’s torrential rain sent torrents of mud pouring through towns and villages in the Var. department, inland from the Cote d’Azur. Scores of people were still housed temporarily in schools and other buildings after their homes were swamped.

    More than 350 mm (14 inches) of rain fell on the Var. on Tuesday, more than in a typical six-month period. Canada dot com

    Is this a two hundred year storm no we need to go back a tad bit further.

  3. Don Hawkins said on June 19th, 2010 at 4:59am #

    SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Floods and landslides across southern China have killed at least 88 people and left 48 missing in a week, Xinhua news agency said on Saturday.

    Torrential downpours triggered flash floods, inundated crops, disrupted traffic and telecommunications, forcing the evacuation of 757,000 people, the Ministry of Civil Affairs said in a statement, Xinhua reported.

    China’s disaster relief departments raised the emergency response level on Saturday after more floods hit south China and as authorities

    SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Floods and landslides across southern China have killed at least 88 people and left 48 missing in a week, Xinhua news agency said on Saturday.

    Torrential downpours triggered flash floods, inundated crops, disrupted traffic and telecommunications, forcing the evacuation of 757,000 people, the Ministry of Civil Affairs said in a statement, Xinhua reported.

    China’s disaster relief departments raised the emergency response level on Saturday after more floods hit south China and as authorities forecast more rain to fall in coming days.

    Worst hit were the provinces of Fujian, Jiangxi, Hunan, Guangdong, Sichuan and Guizhou, and the Guangxi autonomous region. The economic damage was put at 10 billion yuan ($1.47 billion), Xinhua said.

    Only a few months ago, parts of the southwest were suffering from the worst drought in a century.

    Forecast more rain to fall in coming days and drought and as the forests burn and we all see more extreme weather not climate in the coming years well at least here in the States go shopping and don’t forget to vote as if that will make any difference.

  4. Don Hawkins said on June 19th, 2010 at 5:14am #

    The oil spill and the government is not doing enough or is it BP who needs to do more. The talk from the few is small government and the private sector a wall street term let them do there thing. Well these corporations is it not self interest there number one way of thinking and the spill how does it seem to be working out. Small government and on paper we the people oh yes by all means keep that small as the private sector run’s the show. This very second is it not true that the government and business is one well hence the strangeness and how does it look to you going well is it?

  5. Don Hawkins said on June 19th, 2010 at 5:53am #

    Oh yes the policy’s of our government Worldwide remember business and government are one and it look’s like business want’s a smaller government much easer to control all done of course for the American dream, don’t eat to much you know so much that’s it’s hard to walk take your pill’s and go shopping. This all done as we all go down the drain in not such slow motion the easy way out it’s just better that way. Well for those of you who are young like thirty and for your kid’s that it’s just better that way I think not.

  6. Don Hawkins said on June 19th, 2010 at 6:16am #

    Pain pill’s yes they come in different forms and from what I see healthy young people take those pill’s for pain not of the body but the mind. Here’s a better pain remedy fight back two million to start Capital one voice and I still like this song along with some speakers that still have a mind.

    Oh the games people play now
    Ev’ry night and ev’ry day now
    Never meaning what they say, yeah
    Never saying what they mean.

    People walking up to you
    Singing glory hallelujah
    Then thy try to sock it to you, oh
    In the name of the Lord

    Ringing down the hall’s of power I guess that’s what they call it. Cap and trade will not work any ideas on what could be a real try? Oil oil everywhere and

  7. Don Hawkins said on June 19th, 2010 at 6:26am #

    Hay what do you think the tea party people and well there speakers like Beck and Hannity what minds and the songs hello she got the gold mine I got the shaft please we need to invite them to a real party with different song’s and let’s see James Hansen heck maybe if we tried Hawking will come and what about Lewis Black to get the cloud in a good mood I know we could get Ann Coulter after Lewis Black and Hansen and see how that work’s. Ideas people ideas.

  8. Don Hawkins said on June 19th, 2010 at 6:35am #

    Alright who has a plan how do we get started I know how about the 2020 party can be looked at in a number of way’s.

  9. bozh said on June 19th, 2010 at 6:40am #

    Not being in charge, is being in charge. So, gangsters are in charge as always before.
    Gangsterism goes under many names: We are a nation of laws. We have a perfect constitution. Free markets=deregulate baby deregulate.
    We are a nation of laws and/or of the regulations, but not necessarily of the regulations or supervisions.

    The gangsters don’t say of the BP gangsters: well, they are our gangsters. Our union is strong and unbreakable. It is our party and we the gangsters will do as we like, but will not tell u this.
    But even 90% + amers are approving of us!
    So what? More drilling, more spills, more wars, more people losing, more wins for same people, etc . tnx

  10. Don Hawkins said on June 19th, 2010 at 7:02am #

    What do you think Bozh these gangsters you know just on the off chance what you wrote is true how might we change there heart’s and mind’s. Let’s see we the many they the few but the few do control the media the bank’s, our thought’s sort of but wait now with the internet just maybe there is away, way yes way. It has to be same page total focus helping one another the 2020 party. Don’t like that idea ok let’s have a vote.

  11. Don Hawkins said on June 19th, 2010 at 7:06am #

    I forgot from what we now see with our own eye’s the year 2020 regardless if we start today easy it will not be but to start fight back we stand a chance and boring no strangeness no when should we get started?

  12. Don Hawkins said on June 19th, 2010 at 7:33am #

    What is it that the few keep saying oh that’s right we can’t get off fossil fuel’s tomorrow we will need then for thirty years at least. I don’t think so and how about getting off madness as a start as what we see now if that is not madness I’d like to know what is. Party time and will it be easy well no work, helping one another, fighting the darkside yes even more than in the past, oh your credit rating forget about it nonsense, gold hello heavy and you can’t eat it the last time I checked but some from what I understand do that very thing. Ideas people ideas.

  13. Don Hawkins said on June 19th, 2010 at 8:00am #

    We stop burning fossil fuels and change the why we grow crops you know shipping them across the ocean all those chemicals forest’s is a big one or the rest is academic. Yes we need to cut back on all we do don’t like that idea well again are you young do not do those things and cut back doesn’t begin to explain it. 2020 then 2030 I did the math that’s 20 years. Just think some will be at the ripe old age of 27 or 47.

  14. Don Hawkins said on June 20th, 2010 at 4:04pm #

    It looks like both sides of the pond are heating up.

  15. Jonas Rand said on June 20th, 2010 at 8:44pm #

    Why is nobody else commenting here, but everyone’s busy babbling with Hayate?

    Corporations are the real masters of power in America, including the most unethical, unjust conglomerates to ever exist. They consider the third world, cynically, as their backyard to do anything they want to, including ravaging and pillaging. These Pirates With Power can get away with murder, robbery, starvation, and environmental destruction, while impoverished Somalis can now resort to nothing short of desperate measures. The blatant hypocrisy shown by the corporate puppet government is exemplified in this clear double standard of the “justice system”.

  16. hayate said on June 20th, 2010 at 11:30pm #

    Jonas Rand said on June 20th, 2010 at 8:44pm #

    “Why is nobody else commenting here, but everyone’s busy babbling with Hayate?”

    They are? Where? And what’s your obsession with me about?

  17. mary said on June 21st, 2010 at 4:24am #

    Hayate I’m here.

    I usually agree with pretty well everything you say here especially concerning Israel, Palestine and Zionism. I can’t however agree with what you said about Craig Murray being ‘tainted goods’ and your suggestion that he is a disinfo merchant. Can’t find the page now.

    I have read two of his books, followed his blog for about three years and have heard him speak a couple of times. the last occasion being in Whitehall on the day that the flotilla was attacked when thousands of us turned out. I consider him to be totally open in all matters, brave and outspoken and consistent in his opposition to torture and war and the corruption in NuLabour. He fought long and hard to get a hearing on his evidence on torture in front of the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights (stuffed full of Friends of Israel needless to say) and also put up a strong fight to get into Parliament as an Independent last year in the Norwich Nortj by election. Then the media including the BBC did not give him a voice in his campaign and he was completely excluded. Even a local school rescinded their permission to allow the use of their hall for a meeting which they were statutorially obliged to do.

    If it wasn’t for his outspokeness (we even know his address and phone number) and personal courage, I think he might have been bumped off like Dr Kelly.

    This is his latest piece on the lunacy of the Afghan war which he has always opposed from the beginning.

  18. Don Hawkins said on June 21st, 2010 at 4:34am #

    Who needs the weather channel or for that matter MSM and so far NOAA has gone from 60$ chance to 40% change to 0% chance and now back to 20% chance talk about the forest for the trees and of course the head office the top floor the big cheese could just come into play.

  19. Don Hawkins said on June 21st, 2010 at 4:37am #

    Sent this to msm this morning

    Oh the outrage,

    So old Tony went yachting did he well we will show you here in the States we will go golfing and after words maybe a trip to Wallyworld but we will not stop there no no no how about pass a watered down cap and trade bill a joke on the human race. Come on what have you got that’s why they call us the greatest nation on Earth and that’s why they call it the blues. Oh at Wallyworld a new park called Toxic World a must see from what I understand.


    In the year 2020…………………………………….

  20. Don Hawkins said on June 21st, 2010 at 7:59am #

    James Inhofe at his best read this and you will find out where his head is at.