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Guest Human_*

A ray of hope, yet we can't forget that WE MUST KICK our habit of imported oil.

 

Because we sure are getting kicked in the pocket book.

 

 

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http://www.upi.com/Emerging_Threats/2008/0...41081212676432/

 

For the first time ever, Angolan oil output exceeded that of Nigeria, knocking the West African country out of the continent's top spot for production, according to OPEC.

Angola's production levels for the month of April reached 1.87 million barrels per day, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries reported this week, while Nigeria's shrunk to 1.81 million bpd. That's down from a high of 2.5 million bpd just three years ago.

 

Meanwhile, Angola's production rose by more than 800,000 bpd during the same period due to several new offshore projects coming online in the oil-rich waters off the coast of Cabinda province.

Nigeria's steady decline in oil production has been blamed on militant groups like the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta. The delta is home to the vast majority of Nigeria's oil production; however, its residents remain mired in abject poverty.

 

The country that once dominated oil production in Africa has pumped more than $300 billion worth of crude over the last three decades from the southern delta states, according to estimates.

 

Nigeria's high unemployment in the delta, environmental degradation due to oil and gas extraction, and a lack of basic resources such as fresh water and electricity have angered the region's youth, who have taken up arms, many times supplied by political leaders, and formed militant groups and local gangs.

 

Though Angola's emergence as a regional oil contender is undeniable, some experts warned against just yet anointing it Africa's new petroleum titan.

 

"Angola is certainly a big upcoming producer," Africa oil expert John Ghazvinian, author of "Untapped: The Scramble for Africa's Oil," told United Press International.

 

"Although monthly (production) figures can fluctuate," he added, noting that the return to even partial capacity of a few facilities in the delta would return Nigeria to the top spot among petroleum producers in Africa.

 

"Angola and Nigeria are clearly the two titans of the sub-Saharan oil world," Ghazvinian said.

The oil author did note that while oil production in the delta and at off-shore platforms has been interrupted numerous times since the emergence of MEND three years ago, not to mention decades prior by the armed group's predecessors, Angola's petroleum sector has remained relatively free from violent disruptions.

 

That's not to say Angola hasn't had its own share of difficulties with armed groups vying for its country's oil wealth.

 

Cabinda province, home to more than half of Angola's oil, has been the scene of violence blamed on the separatist group known as the Liberation of the Cabinda Enclave, or FLEC.

Many Cabindan separatists and members of FLEC who fled the province have returned and remain discontented with the Angolan government for not using enough of the country's oil revenue toward development.

 

Despite last year's peace deal between the government and those Cabindans seeking a separate state, chronic discontent persists among secessionists, prompting the Angolan government to keep up to 30,000 troops in the tiny province.

 

In March, three Angolan soldiers were killed in attacks blamed on FLEC. The military has since clamped down in the region in hopes of thwarting future attacks.

 

"Luanda (Angola's capital) will act to ensure that FLEC does not present an obstacle to the government's goals of becoming a major oil producing state and using its wealth to become the geopolitical hegemon in south-central Africa," read a recent report by Stratfor Strategic Forecasting.

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