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The Oil Spills You Never Heard Of

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posted on Jun, 16 2010 @ 09:21 PM

The Oil Spills You Never Heard Of


While the news about British Petroleum’s (BP) Deepwater Horizon platform blowout in the Gulf of Mexico is on a 24-hour news feed, it took a long boat ride and some serious slogging by John Vidal of The Observer (UK) to uncover a bigger and far deadlier oil spill near the village of Otuegwe in Nigeria’s Niger Delta.

“We lost our nets, huts and fishing pots. This is where we fished and farmed. We have lost our forest,” Otuegwe’s leader, Chief Promise, told Vidal.

The culprits in Nigeria are Shell and Exxon Mobil, whose 40-year old pipelines break with distressing regularity, pouring oil into the locals’ fishing grounds and drinking water. The Delta supports 606 oil fields that supply close to 40 percent of U.S. oil imports.

This past May, an Exxon Mobil pipeline ruptured in the state of Akwa Ibon, dumping more than a million gallons into the Delta before it was patched. According to Ben Ikari, a writer and member of the local Ogoni people, “This kind of thing happens all the time in the Delta…the oil companies just ignore it. The lawmakers do not care, and people must live with the pollution daily. The situation is worse than it was 30 years ago.”

Just how bad things are is not clear, because the oil companies and the Nigerian government will not make the figures public. But independent investigators estimate that over the past four decades the amount of oil released into the Delta adds up to 50 Exxon Valdez spills, or 550 million gallons. According to the most recent government figures, up to June 3, Deepwater Horizon had pumped between 24 to 51 million gallons into the Gulf.
(visit the link for the full news article)

Here's some more information

Oil For Nothing: Multinational Corporations, Environmental Destruction, Death and Impunity in the Niger Delta

Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa, is also one of the best endowed in terms of natural resources. Yet, it is one of the poorest countries in the world. As is the case with many oil-rich developing countries, oil reserves have proved a mixed blessing for Nigeria. Since 1974, only 14 years after independence, oil production for export has been by far the main source of revenue for the government. Today, oil sales account for more than 40 percent of GDP, 80 percent of the government's budgetary revenue, and more than 95 percent of exports. With an average production of approximately 2 million barrels per day, Nigeria is one of the world's largest oil produc-ers. However, due to a persistent fall in oil prices, Nigeria's external debt has risen to an unprecedented level in the last decade; inflation is rampant, and per capita GNP has fallen to levels comparable to or lower than those estimated in the mid 1960s, when oil exploration began in earnest..

Half a World From Gulf, a Spill Scourge 5 Decades Old

BODO, Nigeria — Big oil spills are no longer news in this vast, tropical land. The Niger Delta, where the wealth underground is out of all proportion with the poverty on the surface, has endured the equivalent of the Exxon Valdez spill every year for 50 years by some estimates. The oil pours out nearly every week, and some swamps are long since lifeless.

Perhaps no place on earth has been as battered by oil, experts say, leaving residents here astonished at the nonstop attention paid to the gusher half a world away in the Gulf of Mexico. It was only a few weeks ago, they say, that a burst pipe belonging to Royal Dutch Shell in the mangroves was finally shut after flowing for two months: now nothing living moves in a black-and-brown world once teeming with shrimp and crab.

Environmental issues in the Niger Delta

We witnessed the slow poisoning of the waters of this country and the destruction of vegetation and agricultural land by oil spills which occur during petroleum operations. But since the inception of the oil industry in Nigeria, more than twenty-five years ago, there has been no concerned and effective effort on the part of the government, let alone the oil operators, to control environmental problems associated with the industry.

I honestly have never in my life heard of a oil spill in the Niger Delta and I am almost 29 years old. I think it goes to show just how little people care when it doesn't seem to affect them.

I think this is a prime example of what happens when we allow a corporation to exploit a country for its resources. I'm seriously surprised we don't hear about "blood oil" the same way we hear about "blood diamonds" I'd all but guarantee that, while probably not as rampant as blood diamond trading, blood oil is a real problem for this area. One of the largest sources of the pollution is from pipelines and other facilities being sabotaged. But not sabotaged with the intent to destroy, generally damaged while trying to tap in and syphon oil.

I also would like to use this as an example, to show that there will most likely be no mass evacuations from the Gulf area, no cities being ran out so corporations can take over. This area has been heavily polluted with oil and its by products for the past 50 years and while its not exactly a safe haven, its no Chernobyl either.

I really hope this strikes a cord with people, and will help some to see that this is not a BP problem, and Exxon problem. Its a problem that encompasses every single oil company in this world. And until we do something about the people that cause the problems, we will just have to learn to live in a world destroy for profit.

posted on Jun, 16 2010 @ 09:30 PM
I think this neatly put things into perceptive for those out these who are convinced the world is going to explode over this!

Things are never important when it affects poor countries, who have the resources just as long as the countries buying them can get it cheaper. But when it affects richer peoples lives closer to home. The it's a big deal.

posted on Jun, 17 2010 @ 09:05 AM
reply to post by ThaLoccster

Awesome job, S&F.

I know most of us don't care about anyone else in the world but this is a good reminder that these companies don't care about people at all. And since the media over there is not exposing their little behind the curtain dealings, noone knows about any of this.

It really is sad that these atrocities go completely unpunished. What would happen if those countries asked for a cleanup escrow account to cover everything we're asking for here? Nothing would happen. The companies would tell them to ^&%$ off, because they're not importers, and the companies' profits are not affected by the consumers in those countries. The only reason they will try to appease us is because they would be losing customers, and that is profit.

So in the end, I don't think there is a better example of profit over people business model.

Here is another similar article I found this morning that I was gonna post but will include here:

Niger Delta

posted on Jun, 17 2010 @ 11:10 AM
reply to post by Kharron

Thanks for the contribution, I actually had that article in my OP but it is good to know someone else is aware of the situation. And it seems my link got screwed due to a overzealous word filter replacing n igeria in the title with n-word.

It also reminded me of another disaster that has been virtually unknown...

Tragic BP Gulf Spill Casts Light on Chevron Disaster in Ecuador

I figured there would be more discussion about this ongoing crisis in the Niger Delta. Just a few weeks ago they shut down a damaged pipeline that had been leaking oil for 2 months, along with another pipe from another company that had been leaking for 3 weeks. Apparently the companies aren't even aware they are leaking oil, worse yet they don't seem to care.

I guess most people in the US are busy gearing up for the ELE and coastal evacuations that are headed our way due to the Gulf crisis.

posted on Jun, 17 2010 @ 02:08 PM
Man... how is THIS not getting more attention?


And, how come, no one is pointing out to that "not a big deal, I remember walking on the shores of the Gulf as a kid and it was black with tar" guy, that that wasn't normal, it was a result of the Mexican rig catastrophe of 1979!

And, that was 90 days at 30,000bpd.

Not saying this oil spill ISN'T a big deal (it is - HUGE), but damn, seems like we've done this before, round and round.... like 30-year-apart swine flu scares! This country loves a good drama.

posted on Jun, 17 2010 @ 02:16 PM
reply to post by SquirrelNutz

Good point with the swine flu.

I remember last year on here, the amount of threads with the topic being in relation to the swine flu being this large pandemic that was going to wipe out 3/4 of life on earth.

If only...

posted on Jun, 17 2010 @ 02:30 PM
Then again....

I'm hearing this Lindsey Williams (?) guy on the radio talking about the real problem here, and the reason why the two situations are not comparable ('79 versus 2010): The depth of these wells.

They're saying that, forget the conspiracy theory here, this was absolutely an accident - it's bad, real bad, going to get worse, but the BP guys had NO idea this was going to hit them.

And, the US is just as culpable.

It has to do with Super Deep drilling. The Russians (who are now supposedly leading the world in oil-production, not the Saudis) figured out a way to get SUPER deep in these oil fields, SO deep that that reach an entire
20,000-70,000 PSI - beyond human technology to contain - it blew everything, not just well heads, and safety valves but thru the friggin' pipe (20 inches in diameter 2 inches thick hardened steel - the pressure of the oil is SO strong that it has compressed the pipe to 1 inch thick - crap this needs to be its own topic... [brb]

posted on Jun, 17 2010 @ 02:48 PM
reply to post by SquirrelNutz

I've heard his name a few times, but I still have no idea who he is.

The Ixtoc well took 10 months to stop, in 162ft of water. After having the flow reduced by lead balls and drilling mud. The Ixtoc well was at around 12,000ft. The Deepwater Horizon could drill up to 30,000 ft, but I'm unsure of the depth of the well.

I'm unsure of the actual pressures of the well, but BP reports it as around 11,500 psi.

posted on Jun, 17 2010 @ 02:53 PM
Here's my continuation of that thought.

Didn't want to divert this thread. This is a pretty damn important topic, itself, that not enough people hear about. (need pics)

posted on Jun, 17 2010 @ 02:59 PM
I have known about it, actually I posted many years ago information in references to human rights violations and killings done in behave of the big US oil giant and at that time our once Secretary of state Condoliza was part of the Exxon and one that was to oversee the whole situation and downplayed the disaster and massacre also.

History doesn't lie is plenty of information about Nigeria oil woes.

[edit on 17-6-2010 by marg6043]

posted on Jun, 17 2010 @ 03:50 PM
Awesome thread.

I wish somebody would do a television documentary on this. We toss around the words "global community", but until these issues change, we are no where near accomplishing a global community.

It's something to strive towards. We need to do whatever we need to do to protect and nurture our Earth, no matter where the problems lies.

How many more decades until we figure it out?
I hope it won't be too late.

posted on Jun, 17 2010 @ 04:18 PM
reply to post by ThaLoccster

There is a lot of oil damage all around the world. This site has a lot of pics...

These are Google Earth coordinates showing gas flares. Locals don't like them either. 4°25'12.45"N 6°31'2.87"E

posted on Jun, 17 2010 @ 06:35 PM
reply to post by FearNoEvil

Thanks for the info.

I actually ran across all this information on Nigeria while researching gas flares.

posted on Jun, 18 2010 @ 07:28 PM
Thanks for your post, research and time put into it.
My wife has been telling me about the oil spills in the Nigerian delta for a few years; and even more so in recent months.

Awareness is a good thing here. I read quite a bit on this topic about who cares about what and who does not... but for many it is awareness, or lack of it.
I believe the cause is more systemic than the end symptom of a series of oil spills. Being the way we live drives the system, need, greed and speed of production. And by "we" I mean those who use oil products. The juxtaposition of the Niger's resource wealth to population wealth is very alarming.
Awareness of this may help in a starting of cleaning up our messes (oil, corporate and social)

I am also interested in what is going on in the gulf. Once a reason for action is taken, I wonder how difficult it will be to look away at the same problem in another place. If BP cleans the gulf because the environment is important to them and the planet, then how can this not be true for another spill.. unless they are just pure concentrated evil.

Of course, they may be cleaning up the gulf because they are made to, or because it is bad for PR not to, too. Certainly Exxon/Shell have not had to worry about this in the Nigerian delta.. until, and hopefully now.

[edit on 18-6-2010 by catlantis]

posted on Jul, 4 2010 @ 10:59 AM
I can't believe this thread sank. What is the matter with ATS.

Oh right of course, it is not on our doorstep so we don't need to cry over it. Disgraceful!

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