07 July, 2008


by Marina Forti

English translation by: Chukwubike Okey Charles

The Nigerian president, Umar, YarAdua, a couple of weeks ago declared that the energy infrastructure of his country is so dilapidated and fragile to the extent that soon he would declare “a state of emergency”. This seems a paradox, for the 8th world largest producer of petroleum. Nigeria produces 1.8million barrels of crude oil daily, and exports most of it. It is also true that the potential production level should be 2.8million barrels daily. The “missing” one million barrels remain under the soil because of social and political conflicts at the Niger delta area where the petroleum products enriches mainly the petroleum companies and the little that gets to the government in form of royalties are redistributed. The most bitter paradox is that the refined products are too expensive for the great majority of the population to buy.

Surprising is the statement for a group on Nigerian environmental experts ; who opined that to satisfy the local energy demand in Nigeria and salvage what is remaining of the country’s forests ; Nigeria should return to mining coal. Why should the coal mines save the forest? Simple; because today the great majority of the 140 million Nigerians cook and illuminate their homes with fire wood and charcoal locally produced from wood, thereby burning 40million tonnes of wood and vegetal coal (CHARCOAL) yearly, (according to the estimate made by an NGO of environmental experts-Green Shield of Nations)

Some years ago the FAO warned that from the rate of deforestation by the year 2020 there will not be a single (bush) forest in Nigeria………….
Nigeria has one of the greatest coal reserves in the world ; about 2 billion tonnes . A low sulphur quality coal that are light and dirty less…..

Coal mining for the energy in the country will be less harmful to the country according to the environmental experts. That could be, but the coal industry is not a light or easy one neither on the person (mining is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world) nor as it regards pollution, and it requires high investments also………

Paradox for a great producer of energy that is not capable of supplying energy to her citizens.

(link to original article)

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