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Curse of the Black Gold

Ed Kashi | Nigeria

Organization: VII Photo

An oil spill from an abandoned Shell Petroleum Development Company well in Oloibiri, Niger Delta. Wellhead 14 was closed in 1977 but has been leaking for years, and in June of 2004 it finally released an oil spill of over 20,000 barrels of crude. Workers subcontracted by Shell Oil Company clean it up.

Curse of the Black Gold: 50 Years of Oil in the Niger Delta takes a graphic look at the profound cost of oil exploitation in West Africa.

Now one of the major suppliers of U.S. oil, Nigeria is the sixth largest producer of oil in the world. Curse of Black Gold documents the consequences of a half-century of oil exploration and production in one of the world’s foremost centers of biodiversity. This book exposes the reality of oil’s impact and the absence of sustainable development in its wake, providing a compelling pictorial history of one of the world’s great deltaic areas. This body of work captures local leaders, armed militants, oil workers, and nameless villagers, all of whose fate is inextricably linked. Curse of the Black Gold bears witness to the ongoing struggles of local communities, illustrating the paradox of poverty in the midst of plenty.

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