Nigeria is taking advantage of the massive world demand for oil and the tremendously rapid increase in prices.
Nigeria is taking advantage of the massive world demand for oil and the tremendously rapid increase in prices. Nigeria -- the world's eighth largest oil-producer -- produces 2 million barrels a day and earns over 700 thousand Naira (just over 1000 million pounde sterling) in foreign currency each year.
Most of the country's oil comes from the Niger Delta in the south. The swamp terrain, threaded by rivers, makes it one of the world's trickiest oilfields. Much of the drilling is undertaken by mobile rigs -- such as the Swampmaster -- which are towed to a potential oilfield.
Despite the difficulties, new terminals are springing up long the coast. Agip's new Terminal at Brass -- with its large refining and pumping capabilities -- is one of the biggest new projects. Although many local residents are boing drawn into the industry, others still pursue the ancient arts of farming and fishing alongside the massive smoke-belching oil installations.
Unfortunately there is no natural gas industry at the moment, and the gas has to burn off.
Tankers cannot come close in to the shore because of the shallow draught. The oil is pumped to a buoy 15 miles (22 kilometres) out to sea and then pumped into the tanker ships.
SYNOPSIS: The southern Nigerian coast where the Niger Delta runs into the sea has always had fishing and farming as its traditional industries.
But along the numerous rivers of the delta they are being rapidly replaced by the booming oil industry. Nigeria is now the world's eighth largest oil producer and turns out two million barrels a day from its oilfields.
The swampy terrain, dotted with mangrove swamps and threaded with rivers, is considered by experienced oilmen to be one of the trickiest drilling areas in the world.
But this has not prevented them from pressing ahead with exploration schemes. Usually mobile rigs -- such as the Swampmaster -- are towed to a spot which geological surveys have shown to be potentially fruitful.
The crows then drill over five thousand metres into the earth for samples. New strikes are frequent enough for Nigeria to anticipate earnings of over a thousand million pounds in the coming year. The country has profited from the massive price rises recently arranged by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries.
Many former fishermen and farmers have become mechanics, valve operators and rig operators.
Many new terminals have sprung up. The Agip refinery at Brass, with a large refining capacity, is one of the biggest.
There is no natural gas consumption in Nigeria at the moment, so all gas has to be burnt off. But there are plans to make liquified gas with American technical aid.
Large tankers cannot take the oil directly from the shore because of the shallowness of the sea. Most companies operate a single buoy mooring system whereby the oil is pumped to a buoy fifteen miles out to sea and then pumped into a tanker.