The Niger Delta

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Future World Energy Supply; Gulf of Guinea VS Arabian Gulf

President Bush's proposal to make the United States' "dependence on Middle East oil a thing of the past" has raised questions about the strategic importance of the Middle East in future energy supply.

Acording to a Nigerian newspaper-the Guardian-United States' oil import from the Gulf of Guinea has increased by 33% since 1999, while that from the Middle East has decreased considerably. With countries like Nigeria, Angola, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Ivory Coast, Ghana and even Mauritania in the Gulf of Guinea recording new discoveries while embracing democracy, the region has been attracting increasing Western attention over the last decade.

Dr. Edmond Daukoru, the OPEC president and also Nigeria's minister of state for Petroleum, said recentley in a confrence hosted by the Nigerian section of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, (SPE) that export from the Gulf of Guinea to the United States, which is dominated by Nigeria, is about 18% at present and is expected to rise to over 25% in the next decade.
In the light of this, there have been a debate within the informed public about the continuous significance of the Arabian and Persian Gulf amid growing attractions to West Africa in terms of short and long term energy supply.

Some of the arguments are presented here;

For The Gulf of Guinea
A publication from the Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists (NAPE) gives an insight;

  • Oil from the Gulf of Guinea is light and less sticky than the stuff from the Middle East.
  • Most of the oil is in offshore locations where the natives won't notice it being taken, unlike the Middle East where oil is being pumped right in front of Wahhabi fundamentalists who are prone to cause trouble.
  • Most Western countries seem to have a good relationship with oil producing countries in the Gulf of Guinea.

For the Middle East

Some industry analysts have quelled hopes of a growing West Africa importance. Some of their points are;

  • If violence is the major thing pursuing the West from the Middle East, then it is not in short supply in the Gulf of Guinea. Recent events in the Niger Delta can attest to this. (See my post on Hostage taking in the Niger Delta)
  • The strong relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia may not be comparable with the United States' relations with any Afrcan country at present.
  • The 60 billion barrels of reserve in the Gulf of Guinea is not much when compared with the 250 billion barrels in Saudi Arabia alone!

The debate rages one....

Join in and send you comment on what you think the future will be in terms of petroleum supply to the developed world.



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