IWHREKAN, NIGERIA Ã¢â‚¬â€œ
Want to know why the price of oil is climbing again?
For part of the answer, drive three hours from Port Harcourt, the
capital of Nigeria’s oil-rich delta region, past swampy rivers with
fishermen in dugout canoes, down a bumpy dirt track to Iwhrekan, where
1,000 villagers live in run-down concrete and mud-brick buildings.
A resident of Iwhrekan shows how an oil spill ruined one of the village’s key fishing creeks.
ABRAHAM MCLAUGHLIN / THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR
The Monitor gives the story behind the story.
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
Threats like this are increasingly being carried out – helping drive
oil to $66 per barrel this week. Four international oil workers were
taken hostage by armed men in speedboats last week. Nigeria’s
production has dropped by nearly 10 percent.
It could get worse. “The loss of more Nigerian oil could send the
price to $80 or $95 per barrel or higher,” says David Goldwyn, a former
US assistant energy secretary who now consults in the region. Given the
instability here, he says, “The likelihood of a significant disruption”
to Nigeria’s output of about 2.6 million barrels per day “always has to
be counted as relatively high.”