‘Niger Delta Avengers’ cause increase in oil prices

A group calling itself the “Niger Delta Avengers” has launched numerous attacks on oil infrastructure in Nigeria since February. These attacks have caused the already-vulnerable African economy to spiral further toward a recession. The group released the following statement regarding their actions, according to media reports (Newsweek and The Wall Street Journal):

“To the International Oil Companies and Indigenous Oil Companies, it’s going to be bloody. Your facilities and personnel will bear the brunt of our fury.”

It didn’t take long for them to make good on their threat: On Wednesday, militants blew up a Chevron oil well, disregarding a government order to halt such attacks, AP reported.

Although the Niger Delta Avengers have had a significant impact on Africa’s economy, they aren’t the first group to disrupt the oil market. Rather, they are only the most recent in a long line of oil disruptors. Over the years, Nigerian oil has been plagued by thieves and decreasing oil production, harming the country’s larger economy. The motives of the Niger Delta Avengers may be different than previous groups — they aim to destroy oil infrastructure rather than steal it — but the consequences are the same for the already economically vulnerable region.

According to The WSJ, the group has destroyed about 1 million barrels of oil a day since they first began their attacks in February. A few months ago, oil prices were at a 13-year low, but the impact of the Niger Delta Avengers, and other international incidents such as strikes in Kuwait, and a blockade in Libya, have caused oil prices to rise.

(At last check, Brent crude was at $52.21, compared with $37.69 on April 4).

The reason for the disruption in the oil market may be new, but the consequences are not: We are dependent on a volatile resource, one that is frequently and easily disrupted around the world, resulting in disastrous consequences and high prices.

But how do we end our addiction? The answer is simple: By introducing alternative fuels into our transportation sector, we can break the monopoly, and end our oil addiction.

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