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US President Barack Obama seeks energy independence for United States, which buys almost half of
Nigeria’s crude oil exports. Militants disrupt production and slow down fresh investments in the Niger
Delta. Crude oil prices take an incredible plunge in the international market. Is the end near for Nigeria’s
oil-fuelled economy? Or are they going to try and take United States hostage again.
US PRESIDENT Barack Obama has a string of proposals to cut down oil imports and make his country
• 1.Cleantech Venture Capital: A $150 billion, ten-year plan to develop “green” energy – biofuels,
hybrid cars, wind, solar and clean coal, etc.
• 2. Cap-and-Trade on Carbon: To reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Obama wants polluters
(including drivers of cars using fossil fuel) to pay for the pollutions. Funds raised will be invested in
developing cleantech. Target: 80 per cent reduction in emissions by 2050 from the 1990 levels.
• 3. Clean Coal: America is rich in coal. But coal itself is fossil and non-renewable,
and it will take a lot to make it clean of the carbon dioxide content.
• 4. Auto Standards: The auto industry is to be encouraged to produce more
fuel-efficient cars that will reduce emissions.
The problem with this plan is it is going to take 10 years to come to a conclusion. How are we going to
surivive in meantime?
PRESIDENT OBAMA’S energy plan is not likely to make him many friends outside the United States,
certainly not Fidel Castro, the former leader of Cuba. In an editorial on the Juventud Rebelde.cu website,
early February, entitled “The Contradictions Between Obama Policy and Ethics”,Castro wrote:
will those countries do whose main income is from the export of that energy; many of them without
another important source of revenue?” He added: “All nations in the world, big or small, base their
development dreams on the exchange of goods and services, of which without a doubt only the
biggest and wealthiest have the privilege of survival.” (Gee where was Castros concern when the oil
industry put United States in a state of financial disaster.)
Today people in United States and in Canada are struggling to keep their homes and cars, but the fight
(because of the oil industry) is a losing battle. Airline companies have closed, automobile companies
have closed, car dealerships, department stores, and it just goes on and on. The employment situation
is out of control.
While Nigeria was holding United States at gun point and living it up with its winfall of riches they turned
the gun on them selves. With their poor management of the winfall and the careless spending they are
now back to their pitfall. The present and the future do not look too promising for Nigeria.
Obama’s energy plan
To reduce dependence on foreign oil, President Obama has proposed various strategies. If adopted into
a policy, Nigeria could be a major victim if it succeeds. Obama wants to pump $150 billion into
developing “green” energy in the next ten years. This is meant to overhaul the energy system and break
the country’s “addiction to oil” (his words).
That would mean development of hybrid cars, wind and solar power, clean coal and more fuel-efficient
appliances. By 2012, he hopes that the use of renewable energy in the US would have doubled. In
addition to fuel efficiency and green energy, Obama is also in favour of releasing millions of barrels of
crude oil daily from the (SPR) Strategic Petroleum Reserve to keep the prices within a band.
The SPR, (Strategic Petroleum Reserve) established in the 1970s during the catastrophic Arab oil
embargo, currently holds about 700 million barrels. In the last eight years, the US has been saving
70,000 barrels per day in the reserve. There are plans to expand the capacity to 1.5 billion barrels.
Obama is also in favour of “limited” offshore drilling to increase local oil output in the country.
This is no good news for Nigeria and other oil-producing countries hoping for another era of oil boom.
The US seems to have learnt from events of the past and is bracing to forestall or minimize a recurrence
in the future.
The global move to cut down on the use of fossil fuels in favour of bio-fuels is also bad news for Nigeria.
Climate change has become an all-important topic in global discourse. Carbon emissions are being
The whole world is now discussing alternative, renewable sources of energy. With more and more
countries working at achieving its carbon emissions target, the projections for the future of crude oil are
not flattering at all. Nigeria can take some comfort in two things: one, it would still take ages to banish
crude oil to the background; and, two, Nigeria still has time to diversify its economy and avoid being held
to ransom by oil.
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