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Oil and Natural Gas in Conflict Africa - Archived Articles



Nigeria: the Warri Crisis: Fuelling Violence (December 17, 2003)

According to Human Rights Watch, members of the Nigerian government have unchecked control over natural resources. Violence erupts over claims to government revenue and profits from stolen oil. This report urges justice for culpable individuals and proposes a plan to track the source of crude oil.

Angola: Oil - Curse or Cure-All? (December 12, 2003)

Angola has a high national debt after almost 30 years of warfare. Oil exports earn substantial revenue, prompting the government to seek partnership with oil companies for oil-backed loans to pay the debt. But the Open Society Institute urges transparency to ensure that untold billions benefit Angola's impoverished population. (UN Integrated Regional Information Network)

The African Oil Boom: Peril or Opportunity for Africa's Poor People? (November 8, 2003)

For poverty-stricken Sub-Saharan Africa, the current oil boom means great opportunity and great peril at the same time. While oil exploitation will set free enormous financial resources that could help reduce poverty, history shows that in many oil-dependent countries, petrodollars exacerbated poverty, rather than reducing it. (Catholic Relief Services)

They Made a Mess of Nigeria... (September 11, 2003)

Shell Oil conducts negotiations with the Tanzanian government to procure a license for deep-sea prospecting. Residents of small islands off the coast of Tanzania share their worries about the potential environmental impact. (Guardian)

Blind Eye on Africa: Human Rights, Equatorial Guinea, and Oil (August 16, 2003)

As the US seeks alternatives to Middle Eastern oil, the Bush administration looks to strengthen ties with oil-rich West African nations such as Equatorial Guinea. But John Bolender highlights documented human rights violations in that country. (ZNet)

Coup on Tiny African Islands Felt in Texas Oil Offices (July 18, 2003)

The island state of Sí£o Tomé and Prí­ncipe exists near an ocean oil reserve off the coast of West Africa. A bloodless coup drove its president into exile in Nigeria, where he castigated mutinous army troops for seizing authority over the islands' most coveted resource. (New York Times)

Let's Insist: Africa's Oil Must Benefit Africans (June 3, 2003)

African oil revenue largely benefits corrupt and non-transparent governments. Accountability initiatives such as "Publish What You Pay" can enable grassroots organizations to "follow the money trail" and ensure that the revenue funds development. (Houston Chronicle)

Chad-Cameroon: Oil and Poverty Reduction Don't Mix (May/June, 2003)

Numerous examples show that oil exploitation in Africa has not led to development. The Bretton Woods Project explains why the petroleum project between Chad and Cameroon will not follow the World Bank's optimistic predictions.

Navy, Shell Beef Up Security (April 29, 2003)

After a threat by armed militants to destroy a major offshore storage site in Nigeria, Shell has warned of "unimaginable carnage" if the attack goes ahead. The country, whose 120 million people live mainly in poverty, relies on oil exports for more than 96 percent of export revenue. (Vanguard)

Shell Oil Accused of Harming Communities (April 22, 2003)

The oil giant Shell is failing to protect communities near its installations in several countries. "The fallout from Shell oil refineries and depots is causing a high incidence of cancer, asthma and skin conditions," says Friends of the Earth. (Inter Press Service)

Oil: Blessing Or a Curse? (April 7, 2003)

Angola, Sudan, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo and most countries with oil or mineral deposits are embroiled in civil wars. Since only a section of politicians benefit from such lucrative ventures, the people of Uganda will continue to consider the existence of oil as a curse. (Daily Nation)

Escravos Crude Pipeline Blown Up (April 7, 2003)

Just as Shell and Chevron were preparing to restart production in Nigeria, youths suspected to be from Ijaw communities damaged an oil pipeline with explosives. Ijaw communities had warned they would not allow production to continue until the companies had satisfied their demands. (This Day)

Violence Cripples Nigeria's Oil Output (April 1, 2003)

The Ijaw community, the largest ethnic group in the oil-rich delta, is threatening to resume violence. The group demands changes to policies that favor rival Itsekiris who get an unfair share of government money and oil revenues. (Guardian)

Ethnic Militants Threaten to Blow Up Oil Facilities (March 25, 2003)

Nigeria's military has attacked and fired indiscriminately on residents in three villages, killing 10 people and injuring 16. Niger Delta youths, angered by years of environmental damage and poverty in oil regions, threatened to blow up 11 oil pumping stations belonging to Royal/Dutch Shell, ChevronTexaco and TotalFinaElf. (Allafrica)

With War, Africa Oil Beckons (March 21, 2003)

As the bombs drop on Iraq, US President Bush is quietly courting Cameroon and Chad, both known for pervasive corruption and human rights violations, to secure support for US oil exploitation. Exxon-Mobil and ChevronTexaco have nearly completed an oil pipeline across the two countries, ignoring protests from environmental, human rights, and development advocates. (Los Angeles Times)

Shell Ordered to Pay Compensation for Environmental, Economic Damage (March 12, 2003)

The Nigerian House of Representatives ordered Shell to pay US$1.5 billion to Ijaw Aborigines of Bayelsa State as compensation for the untold hardship and environmental devastation it has brought the Ijaws community since 1956. (Vanguard)

Oil Exploration Off Sahara Stirs Debate on Ethical Investments (February 17, 2003)

The Norwegian oil company TGS-Nopec is involved in oil exploration in Western Sahara, a territory illegally occupied by Morocco. Main shareholders consider the investment "unethical" and have started to divest from the company. (Afrol)

Govt Doubts Legality of Norwegian Exploration in Western Sahara (February 13, 2003)

The Norwegian Foreign Minister has voiced sharp criticism against the national company TGS-Nopec. Consistent with UN legal opinion, he maintains that oil exploration in the illegally occupied territory of Western Sahara should be avoided. (Afrol)

Sudan's Oilfields Burn Again (February 10, 2003)

The Sudan government's recent offensive in the Western Upper Nile oilfields jeopardizes the peace in the region. Khartoum's long-time strategy of depopulating oil-rich areas includes the abduction of women and children, gang rapes, burning of villages and other atrocities. (International Crisis Group)

Swiss Aid Group Keeps Watchful Eye on Chad Pipeline (February 4, 2003)

Africa's biggest development project, a $3.5 billion pipeline, is already having a negative impact on ordinary people. Human rights groups say the project is damaging water supplies and depriving farmers of their land. (NZZ)

Africa Activists Denounce Bush's "Malign Neglect" (January 29, 2003)

The US is increasing its military presence in African oil-producing nations, but ignoring African people who need economic support, health and education. 20 million Africans have already died of HIV, a scourge "far more deadly than terrorist or the alleged existence of Iraqi weapons," says Foreign Policy In Focus.

Groups Say US Plan Erodes Africa's Sovereignty (January 28, 2003)

US multinational companies seek to "control Africa's precious resources, such as oil, gold, diamonds and other minerals and metals", says a coalition of African groups that protest the negotiation of a trade agreement between the US and 38 African nations. (New California Media)

Does US Bank Harbour Equatorial Guinea's Oil Millions in Secret Accounts? (January 21, 2003)

Major US and French oil companies refuse to reveal any information about their payments to the government of Equatorial Guinea. Global Witness accuses such companies of complicity in depriving ordinary citizens of the benefits from oil revenues. (Globalwitness)

Oil Boom Enriches African Ruler (January 20, 2003)

Even though Equatorial Guinea's oil fields generate hundreds of millions of dollars, most of its population lives on about a dollar a day. In the last two years, a Washington DC secret bank account received from $300 to $500 million from Equatorial Guinea's oil revenues. (Angeles Times)

US Quest for Oil in Africa Worries Analysts, Activists (January 13, 2003)

After closing its embassy in Equatorial Guinea for human rights concerns, the US will reopen it because of oil discoveries. Anxious to avoid dependence on Middle East oil, the US closes its eyes to the most corrupt African regimes. "We're not running a church. We're running a great nation," said an US official. (Angeles Times)

Big Oil and James Baker Target the Western Sahara (January 9, 2003)

In tandem with important oil discoveries in West Sahara, the US has taken steps to legitimize Morocco's illegal occupation of the African country, in violation of international law and UN resolutions. Furthermore, by declaring the Polisario Front a terrorist organization, the Bush administration will pave the way for US oil interests. (All Africa)

The New Gulf Oil States (January 8, 2003)

Pretending to be discrete in its ambitions, the US increasingly intervenes in oil-producing countries in Africa. Following the mistakes made in the Persian Gulf, oil exploitation is used in the detriment of the population. (Le Monde Diplomatique)



As Oil Riches Flow, Poor Village Cries Out (December 22, 2002)

ChevronTexaco's giant terminal in Nigeria is surrounded by tens of thousands of Africans who have grown poorer and angrier. The New York Times questions "how long these two worlds can coexist in such proximity without inflaming violence". The company, which operates in 186 countries, pumps much of its oil in places where people live on "less than $1 a day." (New York Times)

Forced Transparency (December 15, 2002)

"Publish What You Pay", a new initiative backed by George Soros, the World Bank and dozens of aid organizations, attempts to force corporations to declare how much money they give to governments to extract natural resources, particularly oil. If implemented globally, this project would significantly raise accountability and increase pressure on corrupt leaders to invest more in social services. (New York Times)

The Lure of African Oil (December 9, 2002)

Unlike troubled Nigeria, Sao Tome's relatively stable domestic situation makes its huge unexploited oil deposits very attractive to the US. The Baltimore Sun advises the Bush administration to guarantee that all residents share of oil wealth instead of only dealing with elites.

Fueling War (December 05, 2002)

Oil, diamond and other natural resources too often fund conflicts. Some 5 million people were killed and 15 to 20 million were displaced in resources wars in the 1990s. (Christian Science Monitor)

Mineral Wealth Fuels Africa's Most Protracted Wars (November 27, 2002)

Despite UN warnings, Africa's enormous mineral wealth, especially diamonds and oil, continue to fuel diverse conflicts and instability in numerous countries. (Agence France Presse)

Black Gold (October 24, 2002)

While ordinary African people have benefited little from oil, big new oil discoveries off the African west coast excite US oil companies. Oil constitutes the US's only interest in the region. (Economist)

Uncle Sam's Crude Solution: Our Expensive, Deadly Role as Global Oil Police (October 23, 2002)

US interests around the world start and end with oil. US policies in the Middle East, Asia, Latin America and Africa revolve around billions of dollars in contracts, corruption and hypocrisy. (Village Voice)

The Niger Delta: No Democratic Dividend (October 22, 2002)

Both the Nigerian government and oil companies remain complicit in many human right violations with utter impunity. This Human Right Watch report recommends the creation of a binding code of conduct for multinational oil companies headquartered in the G8 or EU countries. (Human Rights Watch)

World Court Rules for Cameroon in Prolonged Oil-Land Border Dispute With Nigeria (October 11, 2002)

The ICJ decided that the oil-rich Bakassi Peninsula belongs to Cameroon. Though both countries agreed to accept the ruling, they also strengthened their military presence on either side of the border. The importance of the ruling comes from the fact the region holds "enough oil to change the mix of supply from West Africa or to shake up global markets," reports the New York Times.

The Militarization of West Africa (August 2, 2002)

A fact-finding mission led by Europeans and US officials to West Africa involves, from the outset, plans for tighter military cooperation. However, the true reason behind such interest is the "energy-hungry" strategic concern of the West on a "world-class oil producer region." (Stratfor)

Corporate Secrecy Oils the Wheels of Poverty (June 20, 2002)

The links between poverty and the exploitation of natural resources have become widespread knowledge. Multinational oil companies working in developing countries refuse to publish what they pay, thus adding to a vicious cycle of corruption which harms the civilian population. (International Herald Tribune)

Western Sahara: Numbered Days (June 13, 2002)

The US and France grow impatient to legitimize Morocco's annexation of Western Sahara through a Security Council resolution, thus securing US and French oil industry interests in Morocco. An Australian oil company remains the Saharawis' only ally and leverage. (The Economist)

All the Presidents Men: The Devastating Story of Oil and Banking in Angola's Privatised War (March 25, 2002)

This Global Witness report provides an update on the campaign for full transparency within the oil and banking sectors. It continues the investigation, started with A Crude Awakening, into the mechanisms of wholesale state robbery in Angola.

Bakassi: 'Yaounde Has the Might, Will for War' (February 21, 2002)

A dispute over the oil-rich Bakassi peninsula threatens to cause a military confrontation between the neighboring countries of Nigeria and Cameroon. Cameroon hopes the territorial dispute can be resolved through impending arbitration at the International Court of Justice. (This Day)

UN to Rule on Moroccan Oil Deal in Western Sahara (January 24, 2002)

UN experts are looking into the legality of Moroccan oil exploration licenses off the disputed coast of Western Sahara which produced heavy protests from the nationalist Polisario front in October 2001. According to a US Geological Survey, estimated oil and gas resources off the Saharan coast are substantial. (Afrol News)

Sudan and Russia Forging New Ties Around Oil and Arms (January 22, 2002)

Russia signed an oil-for-arms deal with Sudan, in an effort to enhance its influence in the region. The government of Sudan undoubtedly makes the deal in an effort to modernize its army and suppress the separatist movement in the South. (Stratfor)

Nigeria's Economy Dominated by Oil (January 16, 2002)

A general strike against rising fuel prices threatens to paralyze the Nigerian economy and undermine stability. Rising fuel prices cause outrage amongst Nigerians due to the widespread perception that the country's oil wealth has been squandered through corruption. (BBC News)



Algeria's Economy: The Vicious Circle of Oil and Violence (October 26, 2001)

The International Crisis Group details how oil wealth has contributed to patronage, corruption, civil conflict, and the decreased capacity of the Algerian government to meet the basic needs of the Algerian people. The military elite perpetuate violence to avoid a settlement that would limit their economic and political power.

Shell Sues Nigerian Villages (October 22, 2001)

In an ironic twist of fate, Shell has launched a legal suit against several Nigerian villages for alleged damage perpetrated by vandals. Shell's operations in Nigeria continue to be controversial, as the corporation has in the past been associated with environmental degradation and human rights abuses in the Niger Delta. (BBC)

Sudan Government Tops List of Those Causing Agony for Oil (October 13, 2001)

This article from the New York Times offers interviews and personal accounts from the civil war in Sudan. They confirm allegations of the Khartoum government's intentional attacks on civilians, forced relocation policies, and the central role of oil in providing the resources and the motivation for sustaining the war.

Sudan Civil War Becoming War Over Oil - UN Report (October 10, 2001)

A new report released by the UN asserts that oil extraction in Sudan is fueling the ongoing civil war, thus confirming the allegations of various human rights and church groups. Despite such evidence, the US has allowed the UN Security Council to lift sanctions on Sudan in an effort to gain the cooperation of Khartoum, where Osama bin Laden allegedly resided from 1991 to 1996. (Reuters)

Shell Loses N880bn to Ogoni Crisis (October 9, 2001)

Continued acts of violence against the Shell Petroleum Development Company in the Niger Delta have forced the company to shut down operations in the region. Shell's operations continue to be a point of contention, due to prior allegations of its complicity in human rights abuses under the rule of General Abacha. (Vanguard)

Rebels Warn Against 'Blood Oil' (September 6, 2001)

Countries of southern and eastern Africa have continued to buy cheap Sudanese oil. In addition the moral implications of purchasing "blood oil," continued payments to Khartoum will undoubtedly protract the ongoing civil war. (Financial Gazette)

Angola's Wealth: Stories of War and Neglect (September 2001)

The executive summary of this policy paper by Oxfam illustrates the dynamics of a vicious cycle of oil production, underdevelopment, and conflict. The paper calls for greater transparency on the part of the Angolan government and increased international involvement, in order to ensure that oil revenues are used for development instead of Angola's "economy of war and neglect."

Oil Adds Fuel to Unrest (August 23, 2001)

The World Bank's decision to finance the Chad-Cameroon oil pipeline has elicited criticism and protest. Revenue from the project will likely flow to dictator Idriss Deby, who has spent $4.5 million (U.S.) of oil industry money to buy arms and finance his war against rebel guerillas. (NOW)

Link Between War And Oil (August 15, 2001)

The Sudanese People's Liberation Army (SPLA) recently launched an attack on the country's most productive oilfield, reinforcing earlier findings on the linkage between oil extraction and conflict. (IRIN)

Would Buying Sudan's Oil Undermine Peace Efforts? (July 16, 2001)

Despite the Sudanese government's record for using oil revenues to wage war against the Christian minority, foreign companies continue to invest in Sudan's oil sector. (African Church Information Service)

Oil Money Supercharges Sudan's Civil War (June 13, 2001)

Although Western governments criticize Sudan's abysmal human rights record, North American and European companies continue to invest in Sudan's oil sector, which has fuelled the nation's devastating civil war. (International Herald Tribune)

The Regulatory Void (May 17, 2001)

Christian Aid implicates various European and Asian oil companies in human rights violations in Sudan. The report calls for the establishment of a Global Regulation Authority (GRA) to ensure the accountability of TNCs, but does not clarify which international body would oversee its operation.

What's Behind Nigeria's Military Shake-up? (May 2, 2001)

Nigerian ethnic and tribal groups wish to profit from the country's lucrative oil trade. Controlling the military means controlling the nation's politics and safeguarding oil facilities, thus Obasanjo's pre-emption of any coup attempts. (Stratfor)

Boiling Oil (April 12,2001)

The 1967 civil war in Nigeria is often attributed to the politics of oil, and oil continues to play a destabilizing role in the country's politics. (Economist)

US Changing Course? (March 10, 2001)

The African Perspective paints the situation in DRC in the light of the divergent western interests, counting the US oil lobby leading to the support for Angola.

The Scorched Earth (March 2001)

A detailed report by Christian Aid, describing the role of foreign oil companies in escalating and sustaining the civil war in Sudan.

Cornered Rebels May Lash Out in Cabinda (12 February 2001)

Will the Angola government in Luanda accept the separatist claim of Cabinda, an oil-rich and strategic region of Angola? As the rebel movement becomes more and more isolated, violence is expected to escalate. (

Oil For Nothing (January 25, 2000)

An in depth report by Essential Action and Global Exchange on how multinational corporations involvement in the Niger Delta is leading to environmental destruction, death and impunity.



Oil Riches, and Risks, in Tiny African Nation (July 23, 2000)

Once thought to have no oil, Equatorial Guinea could now be the next Kuwait of Africa. Who will benefit from this new discovery? A local Guinean thinks it is unlikely that the native population will benefit. In an interview he stated, "it's our oil, but it's you Americans who are eating our oil." (New York Times)

Africa Should Mull Oil and Diamond Union to End Conflict: Annan (July 10, 2000)

UN Secretary General suggested creating an "African oil and diamond union" modeling after the European Union. He described the EU as the "world's most successful conflict prevention mechanism." (Agence France Presse)

Sudanese Squabble Over Oil Revenues (July 2000)

Rival rebel factions are uniting in an effort to shut down the oil fields in the southern region of Sudan. Southern rebels insist that the $1.2 billion a year generated by the pipeline will be spent by the government to fight rebels instead of contributing to development. (Africa Analysis)

Buckee Says Talisman Will Stay In Sudan Despite Offers For Stake (June 20, 2000)

Talisman will remain in Sudan! The head of Talisman Energy Inc., Jim Buckee, refuses to pull out of Sudan despite world-wide criticism.(Calgary Herald)

Sudan: The Human Price of Oil (May 2000)

Link to Amnesty International's report detailing the background of the Sudanese conflict and illustrating the human rights violations that accompany the extraction of oil in the Sudan.

Spoils Of War (March 15, 2000)

An article from the Nando Times pointing out the difficulty of stopping a conflict, like the one in Angola, that is highly profitable for a number of oil and diamond TNCs.

Open Letter to the Security Council Concerning Sanctions against UNITA (April 14, 2000)

In response to the final report of the Angola sanctions expert panel, a group of NGOs calls on the Security Council to implement strong measures to reinforce sanctions on diamonds, arms, etc. in Angola.

Oil Giants Once Again Accused of Abuses (January 27, 2000)

Oil TNCs found guilty in Nigeria of "working with abusive military and destroying the environment, livelihoods and public health in the oil-rich Delta region." (Interpress Service)




A Crude Awakening (December 5, 1999)

A Global Witness report discussing "How Angolan State corruption and the lack of oil company and banking transparency has contributed to Angola's humanitarian and development catastrophe."

Sudan: Oil and War (October 9, 1999)

A Canadian company, Talisman Energy, is complicit in empowering an illegal regime in Sudan which terrorizes civilians. The article includes an eight-point indictment of Talisman and calls for their withdrawal from the region.(APIC)

The Angolan Civil War Part 1: Oil (October 8, 1999)

Government forces responsible for Angola's civil war get their funding from oil revenues. This issue of Drillbits and Tailings examines the relationship between resource extraction and civil war.

Fight for Sudan's Oil is Killing Civilians (October 5, 1999)

Toronto Globe and Mail article about oil companies operating in Sudan - a country where civil war continues to rage.

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