Woke up this morning to an update by Mr Kalu Aja, my thoughts spiraled .

“If you are alive in Nigeria today, you can tell your grandkids that you witnessed the era when crude oil ended. It’s gone. It’s not coming back”- Kalu Aja

The United State’s oil and gas reserve that was once thought inexhaustible is finishing, gone are the days it was supplying oil needs of the western countries. How much oil and gas reserves are proven in the US? No one knows! So they made us believe? There are several reasons, first US is trying to police the world oil industry, hence the need to keep its reserve secret, for domestic use incase of emergency. Secondly, oil business is intensively competitive and reserve data are treated highly confidential, and lastly, it would seem insane to spend billions of dollars in exploring or drilling oil, when they can import cheap oil and erroneously conjecturing that we do not value what we have. Shrouded in mystery, prior studies have criticized how the United States stores over 1 billion barrels of oil supply in her Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) that could last her for domestic use for over two months, if not to manipulate international price? Contrary to expectations, Nigeria supplies only about 10% of the United State’s oil, which could be assessed considering America’s emission of carbon dioxide which is twice that of Japan, over fifty times of Nigeria’s’ and almost two thousand times that of Chad. In theory, the United States will exhaust Nigeria’s oil reserve in just seven years!

We cannot continue like this, under pain, while a few luxuriate in affluence with looted (cheap) oil. So, there is need for Nigeria not to believe the over 20 billion barrels and the promise that at our current level of production, we will produce oil for the next 30 years. The “proven” oil mirage (reserve) might be nothing but fantasy. These calculations, prepared of course not by Nigeria or Nigerians, could have been notoriously inaccurate. For example, for what ever reason, the USGS publication in 1974 reported over 400 billion barrels of recoverable oil to be found in the offshore margin of the US, progressive experts differed and had rejected this report by over 2000 percent, yes 2000 %( not 200%). Therefore, I am very skeptical nowadays, when I see any statistics about oil, especially on developing countries whenever the word “average” or “estimate” are used, unless I can find out which of the common kinds of average it is-mean, median, or mode. They are all measure of average and a great tool to mislead even legally, but with guilt.

Furthermore, we should not be deceived about our so call proven probable reserve unknown to us, even if accepted blind, we should be mindful of the rate at which it will be exhausted. It will quickly dry up if it’s to meet the unprecedented increase in oil demand world wide. In addition, the world population will double in the next thirty years, while oil demand will double in the next eight years! However the deception, or the bad(good) news of the likelihood of our diminishing oil, the joy is that when the oil is finished, Nigerians leaders and politicians will then know there is nothing to steal and it might make politics less lucrative for criminals, and could usher in decent people into government. It is encouraging to compare figure sometimes, Nigerian oil and gas industry is, as of today a century old, and inevitably the backbone of the Nigerian economy, accounting for majority of the total foreign exchange revenue, which according to a recent World Bank study, 80% of Nigeria’s oil money which has been estimated to be over $300 billion goes to only 1% of the population. The oil has become a curse to us, and sedated us so stubbornly, that we have refused to diversify. The richest nations in the world today are not oil dependent, for example, if California were a separate nation, it would be world’s 12th richest nation just with serious dependency on agriculture.

Margaret in 1964 once said that: ‘‘Oil today, to a great extent is the weapon of international arbitration. Oil today is becoming to hold the world’s purse-strings and therefore the world’s will to war. It can perhaps on occasion buy and sell kings; it can make and unmake presidents.” She is not a prophet, but the US is aware that every empire disappear in two century, hence the need to hold-on as the world-head. Where are Greece, Egypt, Rome and Assyria in world economy today, once mighty and in wealth? The world’s economy is now being dominated by the once so called third world nations like china, Japan and India, and now with an unprecedented increase in oil demand. From the foregoing, everybody, all of a sudden is very serious about alternative energy, the need to move towards electric, hybrid, and hydrogen car. Many schools of thought argued that alternative energy will only begin to its first lap in 2100. First, the big automakers have abandoned the electric idea, hybrid is good for internal combustion only, and hydrogen is considered very expensive. Also, hydrogen for example will require both new cars and new fueling facilities, and the most worrisome is that hydrogen is difficult to store and expensive to produce. Returning to the hypothesis and question posed at the beginning, it is now possible to state that while the world needs alternative energy, Nigeria needs alternative source of income

Author: Malik Shabbazz

Freelance Writer and Political Activist

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