oil industry does not own the sun"- Ralph Nader
In our recent unit in Global we have been studying the issues worldwide with oil and finding more sustainable sources of energy. At the beginning of our assignment we were all put into groups of two or three and assigned a country to study. What we were studying however was not just the country in general, but how the oil crisis would affect our country and how our country could contribute the solving this issue. I was assigned to a group of Charlie Fitzsimmons and I and we were going to study the situation in Nigeria. We started off our assignment by creating a presentation about what issues our country had with oil and how we could potentially solve it and every group had some interesting points and perspectives. The other countries that were in our activity were USA, China, the World Bank, and the UNDP. That is not a lot of countries, but it was certainly enough to have some interesting conversations.
All of the aforementioned numbers are just that, numbers and while the numbers matter, they are not as important as dealing with the issues. It is said that nearly half of the oil spills in Nigeria have been caused by oil pipeline sabotage and by groups trying to steal oil. Had these sabotages and other such occurrences never happened the amount of oil and the amount of money that Nigeria gets from oil would be significantly higher. As a relatively poor country in comparison to other countries worldwide, Nigeria needs as much money as they can get. Now, that being said, Nigeria also has an extremely corrupt government. It is estimated that about $400 billion dollars of Nigeria's oil revenue has either been stolen or misspent since the countries independence in 1960. That is a lot of money that if used properly could have helped towards the development of the country. Without all of these issues Nigeria would most likely be a much safer and more developed country but a wise man once said, "where there is oil, there is almost always conflict."
The next stage of our assignment was to sit around a table in our groups and talk about possible solutions to issues worldwide. It is estimated that is oil use continues at it's current rate, the worlds oil supply will be depleted by the year 2021 which is in six years. This part of the assignment was mainly supposed to simulate the meeting that is going to happen with representatives from across the world to find more renewable sources of energy. When the meeting started the main conversation was between the USA, China, the World Bank, and Nigeria. While I was talking to a representative from both of those groups there was another conversation going on between representatives from the USA, China, the World Bank, the UNDP, and Nigeria. Our main goal was to find different ways to slow down oil production and start to rely on more sustainable energy options so that we do not run out of oil and have no alternative energy sources.
In my conversation with the aforementioned groups a few main points arose. The first big thing was that Nigeria has the potential to create a large amount of solar energy but does not have the funds to do so. In talking about this issue, we mentioned a few possible solutions. The first was that the World Bank give us approximately $5 billion to construct a few solar energy plants that cost anywhere from $500 million all the up to about $1 billion. That contribution would be extremely helpful if the World Bank had decided to go through with it but since they did not, the representatives of Nigeria had to find a different solution. The representatives of Nigeria came the decision to sell one third of our oil stock in order to get started on the construction of our power plants. The money from that sale as well as the $500 million contribution from the World Bank would be enough to get us started on the construction of those plants.
The next issue that arose was because of our corrupt government, any money that Nigeria got would be either misspent or just wasted and that was one of the things that the World Bank was going to help with. The World Bank knows that Nigeria could play a key role in solving the oil crisis and that is a big reason why they are so eager to help. As one of the Nigerian representatives, I proposed that because managing money is the World Bank's strong suit, we would have some people from the world bank come into Nigeria and manage all the money that was going to be used for the construction of the power plants. The only issue with this proposal was that as soon as the World Bank left Nigeria, then Nigeria's government would go back to their corrupt ways and that is where the financial consultants came in. The World bank would not only help to manage the money for the construction of the power plants, but would also have a group of people stay in Nigeria for a period of time and help to teach Nigeria how to manage money. I mentioned earlier how over $400 billion dollars of oil revenue had either been stole or misspent since 1960. This money, if managed properly, would have helped Nigeria accomplish a lot, and that is why we do not want this kind of stuff to continue.
The final issue that arose was that like I stated earlier in the essay, a lot of the oil spills as well as the lost revenue was caused by stealing and sabotage. Nigeria's government has not concerned themselves as much with the security of their oil as they have with producing it and selling it. A big part of this is because the money is being spent in other places where it is not needed. Knowing that the USA has a very strong military and is good with security, we proposed a deal with them. We decided that we would give 12% of the profits from the exports of our energy in exchange for their protection. Nigeria does not really want the USA's protection on everything though. They only want help protecting their energy because that is their main source of income.
Throughout this unit I have learned a lot and have found out not only about the issues with oil but also how hard it is to find solutions for such big issues, especially ones that are worldwide. This activity was very helpful and was an extremely good way to simulate what happens in real life situations like this one. Overall, everyone in the meeting got what they were trying to and we were able to solve the issue. While there was some difficulty agreeing with other countries, we were all able to come to a few final decisions that will certainly help solve the oil crisis not only for Nigeria but for the rest of the world as well.
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