Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Gas flaring bullshit from the energy companies

The Oil & Gas giants reveal their true colours yet again on gas flaring - they want an extension to 2010 (as against the Federal Government's target of all flaring ending by 2008). There should be international pressure put on Shell, ExxonMobil etc. Not only is the flaring poisoning the Delta region, it is also wasting gas that could be used for power stations etc. Click here for more.


Anonymous,  1:35 pm  

Easy as it is to blame the oil cos, I'd want to know more about whether Naijan govt and NNPC have been meeting their own side of the bargain all these years to end flaring by 2008. Naijan govt and NNPC have made laudable targets, e.g. 70% local content in Oil&Gas industry by 2010 but don't always follow through on what they need to do to get there. Saying all this should not let oil cos off the hook however.

Anonymous,  3:22 am  

Here is a comment I left on Chxta's blog:

Let me comment on the Niger Delta's Environmental Problems and gas flaring in general.

If half of the bile directed at the oil majors had instead been directed at the Alams, OBJs, Odilis, etc, perhaps the people of the Delta would have had a little breather from the perpetual flames of the gas flares. Instead, they continue screaming their guts out at Shell, Chevron, etc, when in fact it is the responsibility of the State (FG) to improve infrastructure in their poverty-stricken region, to enfore tight environmental regulations, etc.

I believe the oil companies are doing exactly what other multinational companies anywhere would do - taking advantage of lax laws in a region with some of the poorest black Africans anywhere. What profit-generating company would not do the same. These are, afterall, the most nameless, faceless, voiceless people in a voiceless country. And as long as the people of the Delta continue turning out in the millions to welcome Alams, Odili, etc from prison or the drag-ball (in the case of Alams), it's business as usual.

It is not Shell's responsibility to build houses, hospitals, roads, or to guarantee the quality of air in the oil producing regions. Indeed, it is not their responsibility to put an end to gas flaring by building gas pipelines into a country that essentially has no industrial capacity, particularly when a substantial chunk of Nigeria's money-generating industry is faraway in Lagos. The FG is responsible for enforcing these laws, and even here in the US, when (in the early 1970s) it became clear that lead (in leaded fuels) was bad for three-way catalysts that removed unburned hydrocarbons and also could get into drinking water, the Feds enforced the laws - they did not wait around for ExxonMobil and oil companies to change their stance on leading petrol.

That's a Government. Nigeria hasn't got one.

And as for the people of the Delta, they can keep scrraeming their guts out. They'd better get used to the death, destruction and oppression they've been saddled with for the past 50 years. There's plenty more where that came from, and as long as the world has its insatiable thrist for oil, it's coming!

Jeremy 12:19 pm  

Last anonymous: what a strange comment! You write,

"I believe the oil companies are doing exactly what other multinational companies anywhere would do - taking advantage of lax laws in a region with some of the poorest black Africans anywhere. What profit-generating company would not do the same."

In other words, you seem to think that the profit-motive legitimates a company disobeying the law/creating an environmental catastrophe wherever they can.

Multi-national companies should behave in the same manner in countries with lax-law enforcement as they do in more tightly regulated societies. There is indeed a burden of responsibility in those tightly regulated societies to ensure that this happens. Any other stance is complicity, rendering any fight against global poverty/environmental destruction futile.

Mike,  7:41 pm  

Jeremy the multi-nationals try - and suceed - in evading and avoiding taxes in all countries whether the enforcement is lax or not. They are profit motivated and their greed can only be controlled by enforcement. The laws are there, if Nigeria chooses not to enforce them then basically those responsible for enforcement have given the green light. That's where good leadership comes in...

Arabica Robusta 2:27 pm  

Regarding anonymous: "It is not Shell's responsibility . . ."

Anonymous clearly understands business literature in the U.S. See Chevron's statement on human rights

"Although governments bear primary responsibility for safeguarding human rights, we believe that companies can play a positive rule [sic]. . ."

However, anonymous chooses to ignore the fact that corporations have helped overthrow independent leaders and install sympathetic dictators from the beginning of European influence in Nigeria. He/she should read more history before returning.

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