Oil Exploration in Niger Delta: Consequences on the Host Communities

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Lead City University, Oyo State, Nigeria


Oil exploration activities commenced in the Deltaic region of Nigeria in the early 1900s by a German entity referred to as the "Nigeria Bitumen Corporation" which started her exploratory activities in the Araromi area of the then Western Nigeria but their activities were truncated by the outbreak of the World War I in 1914 (NNPC: 2005; 1-2). Oil exploration activities thereafter started with the Shell D'Arcy (the forerunner of Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC of Nigeria) in 1937 when Shell was awarded the sole concessionary rights covering the whole territory of Nigeria. Their activities were also interrupted by the World War II but they resumed in 1947 and with concerted efforts, after several years and investment of over N30 million, the first commercial oil well was discovered in 1956 at Oloibiri in present Ogbia Local Government of Bayelsa State in the Niger Delta region. This discovery opened up the oil industry in 1961 in Nigeria, bringing more oil firms like the Agip, Mobil, Safrap (now Elf), Texaco and Cheveron to petroleum prospecting both in on shore/offshore areas of Nigeria (Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC; 2005: I -2). From then, "oil production rose from initial figures of 5,100 barrel per day (bpd) from the first well in Oloibiri to today's production of over 25 million bpd, even though Nigeria's OPEC quota specification is based on 2.15million bpd" (Okaba, 2008:8).


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,Degradation, oil exploration, poverty and grounded