After Friday’s deadly car-bombings in Nigeria’s capital, there can be no doubt that militants from the Niger delta retain a serious – even improved – capability to strike well beyond the uneasy oil region despite last year’s amnesty.
Even as the families of the seven dead begin to grieve, the government and oil groups will be worrying that the unprecedented strike in Abuja might herald a return to widespread assaults on the infrastructure of sub-Saharan Africa’s biggest oil and gas industry.
Tensions in the delta are certainly rising. Tit-for-tat attacks on rival political camps have hit Bayelsa, the home state of Goodluck Jonathan, the president and frontrunner for elections due by April.
An analyst commented to me this week:
Will the oil industry change in the wake of the BP oil spill? I doubt it. There may be some changes on the fringes but most people expect to see business continue as normal.
Today we have the first signs of a return to “business as normal” with the news that the UK energy department has agreed to let Chevron begin deepwater drilling off the Shetland coast. This is the first new project to be agreed since the BP spill.
This may seem like something of a “dog bites man” headline, but actually a new poll by Gallup has come up with some very interesting findings. In short, Gallup suggests the emotional wellbeing and stress levels of people living on the Gulf coast appear significantly lower since the BP oil spill, at a time when residents of the same states who do not live on the coast have shown no significant change in their wellbeing.
The overall headline figures read like this:
China is putting down roots in the backyard of Petrobras, newly-crowned share issue king of world stock markets, with the announcement of a $7.1bn oil alliance in Brazil between Sinopec and Repsol.
In the latest step in China’s global hunt for oil – and one of the more expensive – Sinopec, a state-owned oil and gas company, is to take a stake in the Spanish energy group’s Brazilian subsidiary in order to exploit its oil deposits in the country.
Sinopec will pay $7.1bn for 40 per cent of Repsol Brasil, with the remaining 60 per cent staying in the hands of Repsol, according to a statement from Madrid on Friday.
A timeline of the key moments in the life of Bob Dudley, BP’s new chief executive