The lure of oil is its cheapness. What we mean is that oil is a cheap source of energy. It is cheap partly because oil’s costs of extraction–in the Niger Delta and much of the tropical world–are not reflected in the price at the pump, and what Calvino called the “puny power of paper money,” .
One consequence of the unfettered and wreckless exploration and exploitation of oil in the delta is that the poor people continue to subsidize the costs of crude oil through the losses they suffer in environmental services, quality of life, and extreme environmental degradation. In turn, opportunistic groups– oil bunkerers, gangs, militants–find space to extract (and extort) financial gains from the system.
Rather than getting better, the crisis in the Niger Delta appears to be getting more intractable. Meetings, programs, projects, and commissions multiply–yet the many-headed hydra that is mass poverty in the Delta simply grows more appendages. The path of crude oil development is strewn with skeletons and soaked in human blood across the world.