Oil Pits Locals Against Companies, Government

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Ugborodo's Pa Eghare Wellington Ojogor now regrets supporting the oil industry. Credit: Jim Wallace. i

Ugborodo village elders opposed the rise of the oil industry decades ago when Chevron's predecessors began drilling. Pa Eghare Wellington Ojogor was a rare community voice arguing in favor of the oil industry. Today he regrets his support for oil. Jim Wallace, NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Jim Wallace, NPR
Ugborodo's Pa Eghare Wellington Ojogor now regrets supporting the oil industry. Credit: Jim Wallace.

Ugborodo village elders opposed the rise of the oil industry decades ago when Chevron's predecessors began drilling. Pa Eghare Wellington Ojogor was a rare community voice arguing in favor of the oil industry. Today he regrets his support for oil.

Jim Wallace, NPR
The Chevron Escravos tank farm is one of five Nigerian oil export terminals. Credit: Jim Wallace.

A flame reflects off of the water at Chevron's Escravos tank farm, one of six oil export terminals on the Nigerian coast. Jim Wallace, NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Jim Wallace, NPR

The American company Chevron faces disruptions — big and small — in its Nigeria oil operations on a regular basis.

The company's Escravos tank farm is a collecting hub for oil delivered by pipeline from wells across the delta.

Chevron's neighbors haven't made them feel at home. Protests and attacks often stop the flow of oil.

Residents of in the nearby village of Ugborodo want to see more economic benefit from their rich neighbor. They want more jobs and better schools.

In 2003, ethnic gunmen attacked the pipeline network, shutting the tank farm down for two years.

At a time of growing demand, the ethnic attack on just one company in Nigeria has kept more than 100 million barrels of oil off the world market.

Ethnic leader Bello Obuku says Chevron supports an oppressive government. He says oil companies remind him of a Nigerian general — one who was executed for aiding and abetting a coup.

Chevron executive Chuck Taylor says the company is now talking to ethnic leaders, and refining the way it spends money on community development.

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