Friday, December 09, 2005

Shell Oil and Others Sued For Wasting Gas In Nigeria


By Elaine Meinel Supkis

The big oil companies simply burn off natural gas in Africa because they don't want to bother with sharing it with the African people. Most of the oil in Africa is removed and used by Europe and America. We have zero interest in bettering the lives of African people. Worse, we pollute their air and water and intend to squeeze them dry and leave them in poverty. Meanwhile, it is cold here in the north. Give us more energy, world!

From Common Dreams:
Multinational oil companies were ordered by Nigeria's highest court this week to stop engaging in a decades-old process that indigenous and environmental rights groups say has been poisoning the oil-rich area where Africa's Niger River meets the Atlantic Ocean.

Gas flaring dominates the skyline in the Niger Delta
"This victory marks a new dawn in the struggle of the communities of the Niger Delta," said Reverend Nnimmo Bassey, executive director of the Nigerian group Environmental Rights Action, soon after the Federal High Court announced its judgment Monday against the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria. The decision is expected to have far-reaching implications for the local activities of ChevronTexaco, ExxonMobil, and other multinational oil giants as well.

"We expect this judgment to be respected and that for once the oil corporations will accept the truth and bring their sinful flaring activities to a halt," Bassey added.

The case was brought by the indigenous Iwerekan community in Delta State, with support from the Environmental Rights Action group affiliated with Friends of the Earth (FoE) International, a federation of environmental campaigners that claims 1.5 million members and supporters in 70 countries.
If you look at satellite photos of Africa at night, it is truly "the Dark Continent" which only Antarctica and Greenland can compete with innermost Africa for "most dark."

To see the actual photos, visit APOD.

Nigeria is a prime example of how oil companies can pervert and abuse natives if they latch onto the government. The CIA as well as our military has worked long and hard to prevent any Caesar Chavezes from taking power in Nigeria. The few times non-military men ran the place, they used the oil company's bribes to buy gold bathtubs and live in palaces. Then the people there rise up in fury and the goverment supresses rebellions using brutal force and the game goes on, civic life nearly nonexistent in that country as the wealth hemmorages out.

The Iraqis see this and know they are next. Ditto, Iran. Any oil pumping country that dares to share the wealth or make the lives of their people better by expanding education and building a serious infrastructure to make them independent of oil is crushed brutally. This is why Shell Oil, for example, burns off precious gas rather than pipe it to people there. To build the infrastructure to service these people costs money and frankly, the rich oil consuming nations have decided they don't want to be bothered!

Meanwhile, here in America, we writhe in pain due to high energy costs caused by weather and war. From the Albany Times Union:
Prices of wood pellets have gone through the roof over the past few months because of a number of factors, including the demand of more people turning to wood to avoid oil and natural gas costs, which have risen by double digit percentages the past two years.

Even at the high prices, many retailers can't get enough of the pellets. Local big box stores don't even have them. Small mom-and-pops might. Specialty energy supply houses could. Yet, wherever and whenever available, the price has risen by $100-$150 a ton in just a few months, and it is not necessarily a first-come, first-serve sale anymore.

"They won't even sell them to you if you haven't bought your stove from them," Denmark says about supply outlets he's tried. "They say, 'We're taking care of our customers first.' "
I got my kids a pellet stove and now we can't run the darn thing. This is annoying for us all but not near the ill will of seeing massive amounts of gas being burned off (which incidentally, increases global hydrocarbon pollution!) for no good reason.

The factories producing stove pellets will catch up, eventually, with demand. Of course, it won't be a cheap fuel anymore, all BTUs end up costing the same due to people switching over. But at least for now, we can switch! What troubles me is how Shell Oil and the other oil companies can get away with literally burning up the wealth of Nigeria and think no one can stop them.

Personally, I avoid Shell oil. Citco is part of Venezuela's system so I support them by buying their products. I suggest we all do this.

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