Nigeria: The Cost of Oil

For over 50 years now, the extraction of crude oil and natural gas from Nigeria's Niger Delta has meant wealth for a privileged few but has exacted heavy costs on residents and the environment. Nigeria is the world's 8th largest producer of crude oil, yet remains one of its poorest nations -- an estimated 70 percent of its 150 million residents live below the poverty line. The environment is paying a steep price as well. An estimated 500 million gallons of oil have spilled into the delta -- the equivalent of roughly one Exxon Valdez disaster per year. A number of factors have contributed to these disasters: poor construction and maintenance, lax regulation, militant attacks, and petroleum thieves, not to mention government instability and abuse of power. According to cables released by WikiLeaks, Shell Oil claimed to have planted staff in all of Nigeria's main ministries, gaining access to key government decisions. Gathered here are some scenes from Nigeria's long, disastrous relationship with the crude oil industry.

Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • David McNew / Getty

    The Terrible Beauty of Californian Wildfires, as Seen by David McNew

    Getty photographer David McNew has been covering Californian wildfires for more than a decade, and has an eye for finding the visual beauty amid the horrible destruction.

  • Aris Messinis / AFP / Getty

    Photos of the Week 7/16 - 7/22

    Unrest in Turkey, a Santa Claus competition in Denmark, virtual reality in Israel, kite running in Rio, and much more.

  • Bernadett Szabo / Reuters

    Bathing in Budapest

    Hot springs at this Hungarian location have been in use since the 12th century

  • John Moore / Getty

    Scenes From the Republican National Convention

    Photographs of the delegates, the demonstrations, and the Donald

Join the Discussion