Oil and Africa
Johannes.Schneider at gmx.net
Mon Jul 7 10:02:41 MDT 2003
See as well:
Strikes, sabotage and a nervous world economy
Jul 7th 2003
>From The Economist Global Agenda
The oil price has been surprisingly strong, topping $30 a barrel in recent
days. Because of widespread looting and sabotage, Iraq has yet to resume
exports. And if a general strike in oil-rich Nigeria continues much longer,
prices could go even higher
Now a general strike in Nigeria, triggered by a jump in the cost of petrol,
threatens that country's 2m bpd output. Some oil experts now think the oil
price, currently bobbing around the $30 mark, could climb as high as $35 if
the strike, already in its second week, continues. None of this is good news
for the fragile world economy.
Now it is Nigeria's turn. On Friday July 4th, the oil prices dipped slightly
amid rising hopes that talks between union leaders and Nigeria's president,
Olusegun Obasanjo, would lead to a resolution; and last week, Shell, the
biggest oil producer in Nigeria, insisted that the strike had had no effect
on production or exports. On Sunday, however, the union leaders rejected a
government offer to reduce the price of petrol from 40 naira (31 cents) a
litre to 35 naira. The unions say they will stay on strike until the price
is lowered to 32 naira. Since Mr Obasanjo is distracted by the conflict in
neighbouring Liberia, where he is trying to broker peace talks, and by
President George Bush's African visit this week, a deal may take some time.
On Monday, mobs lit fires on the main streets of Lagos, Nigeria's biggest
city, and turned back motorists.
While he is in Africa, Mr Bush will no doubt be urging Mr Obasanjo to strike
a deal with the unions as quickly as possible.
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