Militants Capture Nigerian Oil: Global Price, Energy Policy Impacts?

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Chevron’s Nigerian oil pipeline has been overtaken by the Movement for the Emancipation of Nigeria in the Niger Delta (above: AFP/File Photo). The group is obviously well-armed and trained. See the lead machine gunner supplied by ammunition/communications (left), and flanked by AK-47s and rocket launcher holders (left rear, right rear) scanning the horizon of Niger River, which has pipeline, production and transport facilities (Niger River Delta and Nigerian offshore oil areas are in yellow below).


The Niger Delta has been the source of about 2.5 to 3% of world oil supply and reserves, with Shell, Exxon, BP and others holding major delta and offshore concessions.

Multi-national oil companies have been open flaring oil wells 24 hours a day into the air, and causing extensive water pollution in the area once home to rich fishing and agriculture.
Thus the region is growing infamous for impacted civilian uprisings, peaceful and not so.

Said the governor of Nigeria’s Delta State, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan: “…the
oil companies have polluted the air, the waters and soil….So, with this kind of situation, our people can no longer
fish or farm and so they can no longer feed themselves, the capacity to
do this is no longer there and when you cannot feed yourself, you are
hungry and when you are hungry, you get angry and when you are angry,
you get violent. So, it is a vicious cycle…We want to create a Delta
State without oil…We should be able to create a Nigerian economy
without oil, bring our youth up and train them to become farmers and
non-violent producers”.

Nigerian novelist and television producer Ken Saro-Wiwa was hung after military trial in 1995, concerning demonstrations by the Ogoni group he founded, Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP).

Before the news of the Chevron pipeline takeover, oil markets were already heating up Friday to almost $83 a barrel, the highest range since October 2008, after hitting their historic peak of $147 a barrel in July 2008. Based on Nigeria and increased demand from China, this week could be be a harbinger for 2010 oil price trends.

Are rising oil prices and energy insecurity putting the issue of future global fossil fuel supply in play once more?  


Korea Cities Tour: Changwon


Part 2

The beachside shamanic candle shrines that have been lit in the night for the sea gods are burning down outside my window. It’s nearing time for the dawn shouting ceremony in the seaside conifer forest that has been preserved next to my hotel.

Maybe I will partake this morning.  


Yesterday we visted Changwon, which wants to make itself the world’s leading “Eco-City.” Based in the south-central of South Korea, Changwon is a planned city of 500,000 modeled after Canberra, Australia. Changwon is home to manufacturing facilities or corporate headquarters of Doosan, Samsung and LG Electronics.

The city held a workshop with about 200 public officials and citizens called “International Strategic Workshop for Creating Environmental Capital Changwon” in which I and three others presented. The others were a Finnish Program Officer from UN Environment Program in Bangkok, the leader of the Learning and Ecological Activities Foundation for Children in Nishinomiya, Japan; and  a “social designer” from The Hope Institute in Seoul.

Public officials, including Mayor Wan Su Park spoke, and decried how they need more citizen involvement to succeed in greening the city. Some goals they have are increased public transit (traffic is quite congested as many commute to the city from Busan and other cities), and bicycle ridership (over a glass of sweet persimmon wine the Mayor told me he rides to his office every day and requires other city workers to ride 3 times a week), as well as more innovative approaches to industrial ecology and water management.

Korea is feeling the pain of decreased snowpack runoff, many have told me, with warmer winters limiting the snow season partiallly and even entirely in some mountainous areas. Winter clothing is no longer necessary. Rivers I have seen were close to being dry, and Changwon imports its water from a distant river source.

I’ve been invited to return to work with the ultra-professional city officials (Mayor Park is a PhD in public administration) and its citizens. I look forward to having Common Current bring the city closer to its goal–with a developed landscape that appeared undistiguished from other areas of Korea I have seen, save for a miles long greenspace of “play parks” running along the freeway and main access road into the city, there appears to be unlimited opportunities for innovation.  

Though I rather doubt Changwon will be building the Mongolian yurts for housing that the UN official showed us in her presentation from Ulan Bator.


In Busan, I lectured to students and professors in the urban design and architecture school at Dong-a University, and we then lunched at a traditonal Korean style restaurant on floor pillows. I was shown plans for a park one of the professors, Seung-Hwan Kim, has been pushing for in Busan for more than ten years. The lack of public open space is beginning to become a major issues in cities like Busan, where each citizen only has about 1.5 square meters versus the national standard of 6 square meters per person.

First light on my last full day in Korea: aaaaaiiiieeeeeeee!

Photo credit: ranna