Sunday, June 20, 2010

Oil companies need to consider the inevitable corruption

Following the angry response of Obama to the Deepwater Horizon/Macondo leak in the Gulf of Mexico about the leaks in Nigeria. As much oil that has leaked from the Deepwater Horizon so far, leaks in the Niger delta every year! There's debate on how much responsibility the oil companies should accept for these leak - see the comments on John Vidal's article in The Guardian. The lesson that can be drawn from the history of the exploitation of the Niger delta is that you can't pump the wealth from oil into a third world economy without almost guaranteeing corruption. If the oil companies can't guarantee a equitable distribution to the stakeholders on the ground, especially in developing countries, then the sort of disaster that is happening in Nigeria is inevitable. It's an obvious truth but one which resource industries have yet to properly address. It's convenient to believe that resource wealth will benefit everybody.

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