On June 23, 2005, a group of high-ranking government officials were convened in a ballroom of the Four Seasons Hotel in Washington, D.C., to respond to a simulated crisis in the global oil supply. The event was called "Oil ShockWave," and it was organized by public-interest groups concerned with energy policy and national security. Among those seated beneath a wall-size map of the world were two former heads of the C.I.A., the president of the Council on Foreign Relations, and a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The scenario they were handed was this:
Civil conflict breaks out in northern Nigeria—an area rife with Islamic militancy and religious violence—and the Nigerian Army is forced to intervene. The situation deteriorates, and international oil companies decide to end operations in the oil-rich Niger River delta, resulting in a loss of 800,000 barrels a day on the world market. Since Nigerian oil is classified as "light sweet crude," meaning that it requires very little refining, this makes it a particularly painful loss to the American market. Concurrently, in this scenario, a cold wave sweeping across the Northern Hemisphere boosts global demand by 800,000 barrels a day. Because global oil production is already functioning at close to maximum capacity (around 84 million barrels a day), small disruptions in supply shudder through the system very quickly. A net deficit of almost two million barrels a day is a significant shock to the market, and the price of a barrel of oil rapidly goes to more than $80. Read more...
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Blood and oil in the creeks
The new issue (February) of Vanity Fair has a monumental article on militants in the Niger Delta. Dammie, thanks for the heads up. Sebastian Junger paints a picture filled with colour, light, shade, pain, and anger: