BP's massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico last year has moved off the front pages in most of the nation, though the damage done to the environment and economy of the Gulf region is far from repaired. However, at least that spill once had some attention from the nation and the world.

In the waters off Nigeria, Shell Oil has been drilling and extracting oil for decades, and over much of that period there have been sizable spills from both platforms and tankers. According to an article at Caradisiac, these spills have been especially large and damaging in the last few years. So much so, that it would now take an estimated 30 years to clean up the area.

The consequences are obviously tragic for the people of the region where the ecosystem has been devastated. The residents of the area, mostly fishermen, have seen their livelihoods disappear and their groundwater contaminated. UNEP, the United Nations program for the environment, estimates that 7,000 oil leaks totaling 13 million barrels of oil have occurred in the area since extraction began in 1989. UNEP has also estimated that Shell and other oil companies working in the area have polluted 1,000 square kilometers of land and that the level of oil in the water is now 1,000 times greater than that recommended by the Nigerian government.

A spill is a spill is a spill, and every one should get attention and be cleaned up, no matter where they are in the world.


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  • 36 Comments
      EZEE
      • 3 Years Ago
      Businesses will do what you allow them to do. Does not make them good or evil, just...amoral. When we ban drilling from virtually everywhere in the USA, then the oil companies leave for 'greener' (funny when you word it that way) pastures. Unfortunately, the other areas of the world do not have the same standards as we do. The gulf oil spill was awful, however, it was the first off-shore oil spill (from a platform) we have had in about 40 years. Mexico, Africa - they have continual spills. Until oil is reduced/replaced as a source of energy, we need to think globally when looking at where we get the stuff from. Although we may not like the rigs in our back yard, from a global environmental perspective, it may be safer than Mexico, Africa, etc. Oh - we just invested $2 billion in Brazilian oil fields. No idea how good the Brazilians are, so let's hope...
        EZEE
        • 3 Years Ago
        @EZEE
        Your right. I am convinced. Like anything else the left opposes, they are mean spirited, hateful, sexist, racist, the starve children throw old people into the street, force them to eat dog food, want dirty air, dirty water, and work in ivory towers. Now go drive your cars with gas in the tank, plastics in the interior, and continue to be filled with seething rage. They can continue to move to other areas (with other businesses as well) and you can complain about no jobs, and how much you hate business.
        Smith Jim
        • 3 Years Ago
        @EZEE
        If you think oil company executives are amoral I suggest you read, "Merchants of Doubt" by Naomi Oreskes. Unfortunately, there will always be some people who will do anything for money without any regard for the welfare of other people.
          EZEE
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Smith Jim
          Wow, you want me to read Naomi? After all of her troubles? Great. You read Rush Limbaugh then for his learned opinion on climate science. I am sure it is as non biased. Just, wow. She even thinks beryllium is a heavy metal (9 on the periodic table, uranium is 235). But notice, I never said oil companies were good? You had jump in with your hate. Look at how 'patriotic' they are sometime with the taxes they pay.
        Noz
        • 3 Years Ago
        @EZEE
        "Does not make them good or evil, just...amoral." BULLSHIT...say that to yourself when you're on the other end of the stick and sitting in your comfy home in North America.
      Noz
      • 3 Years Ago
      POLO is another oil shill...HAIL in the name of progress...let's fk up everything for the sake of civilization....oh you mean white man's version of it right?? Now that the North Americans are getting their balls squeezed by the Chinese..(which is nothing compared to the damage and mayhem white Europeans and North Americans have done to the rest of the world for the last 200-300 years), Americans are getting a bit chaffed under the collar.... Sucks to taste the meds ey?
      Michael Walsh
      • 3 Years Ago
      You sleep with the Devil and at some point you're going to find a pitchfork stuck in your ass! The problem here....I don't know who the Devil is - Shell or the Nigerians.
        Marco Polo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Michael Walsh
        A lot of both, plus the terrain. I know it's fashionable to rant against the evil oil companies while flying to the next 'green'' environmental conference, but some facts must be realised. Oil extraction is essentially a high risk, difficult, dangerous and dirty industry. It's also essential to modern civilisation. The Nigerian government, is responsible for the enforcement of environmental regulations and security. Unfortunately, successive Nigerian governments have proved to be among the most brutally repressive and corrupt on earth. This is true of Nigerian society at every level. Anti-Oil activists are just as disingenuous about Nigerian oil field problems as the oil companies. These activists blame the environment devastation on Shell for lack of pipeline(s) maintenance. Nonsense! The pipeline(s) have been under constant attack by everyone from anti-government rebels, pro-government forces, local rebels, factional disputes and hoards of just plain thieves. The pipelines are a source of revenue for all these factions and security is a nightmare. Most of the older pipelines are not even owned by Shell. When Shell attempted pipeline security measures, various groups complained in the UN, World Court etc..that Shell was interfering in local politics. Sadly the rights of the delta's local inhabitants, are completely ignored by the Nigerian Government and regarded as little more than vermin. The terrain doesn't help. Long before European's, the swamps of the Nigerian delta leaked oil and gas. Oil leaks, on quite a massive scale, can occur naturally. (Sometimes as a result of drilling elsewhere.) It's important to understand that Shell and all the Western oil companies are in 50/50 partnership with the Nigerian government. The "tanker spills" are, in the main, caused by the Government owned loading facilities. Natural gas is simply "fared off". BP tried to recover and process the gas, but 'Greenpeace' obtained an injunction in the British High Court preventing "the exploitation of the regions Gas capacity until environmental studies were complete, including the rights of the local tribes" Of course, this 'victory' over BP ensured that the Nigerian government, while condemning flaring, just ignored the problem and flaring continues unabated! No one emerges from the Nigerian situation with any credit. Nigeria is now 40% dependant on oil revenue. Yet, despite the vast wealth paid to the Nigerian government, 70% of Nigerians live on $1 per day! The major oil companies are exploring the possibility of tapping the oil fields from deep-water, far off shore, rigs. Hugely expensive, but environmentally less harmful, and out of Nigeria's jurisdiction. This process would force the Nigerian Government to turn to new partners, the PRC oil cartel. Even more corrupt, more brutal and even less transparent. What a tragedy! Remember, Nigeria is 10% of US oil imports
      mylexicon
      • 3 Years Ago
      Doesn't matter how hard they work to make things clean, the pipelines are still going to be sabotaged and siphoned. Personnel are still going to get kidnapped and killed. Corrupt government officials are still going to bring political pressure on the oil companies to generate more revenue regardless of the environmental impact. I know several people who've all worked projects in Nigeria, and they all say the exact same things regardless of when they worked there or what project they were working on. Sabotage, kidnapping/violence, corruption. I am not convinced that Shell has the ability to stop it.
        Noz
        • 3 Years Ago
        @mylexicon
        ""Doesn't matter how hard they work to make things clean, the pipelines are still going to be sabotaged and siphoned." Wow...now you're blaming their mess on others who sabotage and siphon? You can do no wrong huh? What you are saying is pathetic...it's akin to a slumlord blaming the residents for the crimes and issues that occur in the building and environment he's created that causes these problems in the first place. What incredible arrogance.
          mylexicon
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Noz
          If you think turning Nigeria into a destitute, commerce-less hellhole is a solution to environmental problems, you are not thinking the situation through.
          mylexicon
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Noz
          Illegitimate political factions want oil revenues. They knock a hole in the line, they steal as much as they can carry off, and ten thousand gallons of crude pours into the surrounding area until someone notices the yields are off. The oil companies are obliged to let the Nigerian Army protect the pipelines, but if the officials are in on it, there is nothing the oil companies can do. Worse still, some politicians hire consultants to identify superfluous extraction costs. Many of these costs are designed to protect the environment and prevent loss from accidents or sabotage. No arrogance. Only ignorance on your part.
          Noz
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Noz
          Oh please..spare us the "let's blame the other guy" bullsh*t.... I can't even believe you're posting this crap. Go play the violin for oil companies for someone else....you're not fooling anyone.
          PR
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Noz
          Shell should not extract oil where ever Shell knows it isn't possible to cleanly extract oil due to ANY reason, whether it be a physical issue (like an earthquake fault line) or a political issue (like sabotage). If they cannot secure their pipeline, then they must stop using it. If the only way to secure it is to bury it 20 feet underground, then they need to pay that expense, or not use that pipeline.
      Noz
      • 3 Years Ago
      What part of YOUR brain POLO will register with you that derailing a debate by criticizing our comments tones are only an excuse by you to bow out of the debate? If you are so gung-ho and pro oil....why don't you haul your ass over to the areas where these oil companies drill and clean up the sh7t they create...then perhaps you'll have more appreciation for the effects they have on other peoples' lives instead of being the armchair shill you are. The difference between you and myself is that I acknowledge the issue and try my best to do whatever I can do reduce my impact and consumption....you just troll and spew gibberish. I'm also willing to fully support alternative energy technologies with my hard earned money instead of supporting wars, regimes, and military via my taxes....ARE YOU?? So don't give us this "If you use this, you are using oil" bullsh&t. I'm willing to pay for alternatives..but people like you are not. That is where the difference lies.
      hodad66
      • 3 Years Ago
      Oh but I saw adds on TV explaining just how much the petroleum industry can help their economy......
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 3 Years Ago
        @hodad66
        Oh garsh, now we just don't know what to think.. lol
        EZEE
        • 3 Years Ago
        @hodad66
        One refinery would add about 10,000 jobs to the economy, generate revenue to the government...
      skierpage
      • 3 Years Ago
      And yet car forums are full of people spouting the Top Gear / right-wing misinformation: "Those stupid smug envirohippies, they don't realize how polluting battery manufacture and distribution is!" It's willful, math-illiterate head-in-the-sand stupidity to equate the molehill of making a few hundred pounds of recyclable batteries with the mountain of the pollution from the *tons* of oil that a hybrid or BEV that will save over its lifetime.
      Jon
      • 3 Years Ago
      This is the kind of terrorism inflicted on third world countries. Rich countries like ours destroy the livelihood of those people. Then when they get angry and attack us we call them terrorists. Remember the Somali pirates? They were fisherman. Who found their waters no longer yielded food after the west fished the waters dry. So they resorted to other means to make a living. Not saying its right. Just saying if you dont understand why people hate our country you are naive to the point of being foolish. Maybe if we stop pillaging them they will stop attacking us. But of course, I forgot. They hate us for our freedoms.
        Marco Polo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Jon
        Jon, very true observations. Yet, it's all to easy to blame the evil west, and excuse failed states. Often, the failed states are the result of well meaning interference by the West. We feed people with food aid in areas where over population and deforestation sustain untenable populations. We try to bring aid to people whose appalling governments are only tolerated due to aid. One mans pillaging is another's development. Take the case of a subsistence farmer. He is barely able to make a meagre living. Unbeknownst to him is vast mineral riches beneath his soil. The mineral Coltan is found beneath his farmland. The passionate land rights advocate would argue that the west is 'pillaging' his coltan, and stealing his birthright. "Exploitation" they cry! But a more dispassionate observer may say, the farmer should be very grateful to the mining company. After all, the only value of the mineral is in the production of mobile phones. Without the Western inventions, organised exploration and technology, the mineral would be worthless. It's a lot more complex, than it appears. At some stage, countries like Nigeria, must start to accept responsibility for their own behaviour. @ Ryan, thank you for your reply. I couldn't give your reply the response it deserves amid the rantings of Noz and EV superhero. It must be a consideration for the US to regard the Nigerian Government just to corrupt to deal with, and not buy the oil. But would that solve the problem? Maybe, maybe not! What it would do, is replace Shell,BP, Chevron, Exxon, with Total and PRC oil companies. Whatever pressure and influence to assist in the betterment of the situation would be completely lost. The US would have to source 10% of sweet crude elsewhere, and African pollution would still increase unabated. Reducing transport oil use, is only one aspect of the demand for oil. The world needs oil production for more than just transport energy. Ryan, not an easy dilemma. A complex and difficult problem that can only be improved with careful thought and thorough analysis of all the ramifications.
      Ryan
      • 3 Years Ago
      So if the US used 10% less oil, we wouldn't need to operate or buy oil from Nigeria... And it would solve a lot of the problems that all parties involved caused.
      2 Wheeled Menace
      • 3 Years Ago
      I bet oil corps LOVE countries like this. Write the government a big check from time to time and pollute all you want. ftp://ftp.eia.doe.gov/pub/oil_gas/petroleum/data_publications/company_level_imports/current/import.html We get a good amount of oil from Nigeria, BTW.
      EVSUPERHERO
      • 3 Years Ago
      Marco, the oil corps are the ones who insist on us burning oil for personal transportation. We need the oil for products not for burning up into the atmosphere while siting to make a deposit at the bank.. The oil corps are the ones who lobby our government to the tune of 148 million dollars last year. The oil corps are the ones constantly are airing commercials that say it is ok to bun this oil in your cars, we will meet your demands. The oil corps are the ones who purchase battery patents and prolong delaying EV's. In conjunction with the auto corps together they are a huge juggernaut that cannot be easily over come. The saving grace for us the public is the oil and auto corps along with their OPEC friends may not be able to control and manipulate the price of oil much longer and it will get out of control and the public will look elsewhere for personal transportation because of this. Funny I don't see OPEC advertisement, only oil corp advertisement. Though logic dictates OPEC is their with there checkbook to give the oil corps money for advertisement to promote oil. After all who is going to like a OPEC commercial. The oil industrial complex does not do any planning for the future for clean renewable energy, they will run this oil wagon until the wheels fall off and after that they intend to switch to natural gas and run that for personal transportation via hydrogen until the wheels fall off of that fossil fuel. They are greedy self perpetuating slime, willing to bankrupt this country for their profits. The government needs to regulate them right out of existence for the use of personal transportation. They can still make a tidy sum producing oil for products instead of burning oil in cars but they are greedy and will not change until made to do so by either, cost of extraction, our government or or the lack of oil as a natural resource. Oil combustion cars stink, am I the only one who drives with the window down and notices this? Like second hand smoke in a room, it is easy to ignore but they stink. Look how long we as a society ignored second hand smoke. Look how long the cigarette corps were able create doubt about cigarettes health effects, now multiply that subterfuge and confusion power by 100 times and you have the power of the oil corps, OPEC and auto corps ability to confuse and delay alternative means of personal transportation through misinformation. Bottom line is the oil corps should pay billions of dollars to clean up their mess, they should pay billions more for providing a means to spew gases into the atmosqhere and billions more for the security provided by the US government to protect their business interest and they should do this for one simple reason, because it is the true price of oil.
      EVSUPERHERO
      • 3 Years Ago
      Marco, quit voting for yourself. :) I condone the use of oil for products to be manufactured out of petroleum as well as for airplanes and other uses for which substitutes are difficult. I do not condone the oil use for personal transportation of which is 60% of all oil is consumed. I should have started my statement as Dan Aykroyd did in Point, Counter Point on Saturday Night Live in the 70's. It would have gone something like this... "Marco, you ignorant slut..." :
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