27th March 2019

Today an investigation into an under-reported environmental crisis opens in Nigeria. The Niger Delta, Africa’s biggest oil-producing region, has fuelled Nigerian elites’ astonishing wealth. The masses rarely enjoy such riches—but many suffer the consequences of vast oil spills. Roughly 40m litres of oil wind up in the delta annually, eight times more than is spilled in America, the world’s biggest producer and consumer. A report by the CESifo Group, a research outfit, estimates that this may kill 16,000 babies a year. Oil companies blame thieves drilling into pipelines. Advocates blame a culture of impunity. The investigation will be overseen by the Bayelsa state government. Experts will study the scale of the human and environmental damage caused by drilling, and recommend ways to make oil companies more accountable. Ultimately, the goal is a set of standards for oil companies in the region that would be acceptable in richer parts of the world.

Source: Espresso Economist