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Corruption Clouds Nigeria's Growing Gas Business

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Corruption Clouds Nigeria's Growing Gas Business

Corruption Clouds Nigeria's Growing Gas Business

Corruption Clouds Nigeria's Growing Gas Business

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Ibrahim Magu investigates corruption in Nigeria. Credit: Jim Wallace, NPR.

Ibrahim Magu is a Nigerian investigator looking into allegations of corruption that surround the construction of a LNG plant in the country. His office is drowning in paperwork related to his work. He let NPR's Steve Inskeep read key documents there. Jim Wallace, NPR hide caption

toggle caption Jim Wallace, NPR

Nigeria's next big product may be something it has been burning off for years: natural gas.

Until recently, natural gas was treated as waste product of the oil recovery process. Now it's a product to be packaged and sold overseas.

Exporting natural gas requires an infrastructure for chilling it to the point where it turns liquid, and then shipping it out of the country.

In the rush to build this infrastructure, Nigeria's well-earned reputation for corruption may have touched some American companies.

A bribery scandal is brewing over the contruction of a $4 billion liquified natural gas (LNG) plant on Nigeria's coast.

Contracts to build the plant went to a group of international companies, inlcuding a subsidiary of Halliburton. Investigators in Nigeria and the United States are looking into allegations that bribes were paid to win the contracts.

The alleged payoffs come in a country that Transparency International ranks as one of the most corrupt in the world.

The rising demand worldwide for oil and gas could transform the finances of many African nations.

Americans worried about energy security might ask if the money will ease the problems of Africa's people, or leave the continent wondering how it all went up in smoke.

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