Scenes from the Violent Twilight of Oil

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NIGERIA
Children play in the halo of a natural gas flare in Ebocha. The name means "Place of Light," after the flare at an Agip petroleum refinery that has burned there, night and day, since the 1970s. 

PHOTO BY MICHAEL KAMBER

 

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NIGERIA
An oil worker is covered in crude after a leak in the war zone that is the country's oil-rich Niger Delta. Forcing oil firms to clean up is a low priority amid an armed conflict that has gone on since the early 1990s. 

PHOTO BY ED KASHI

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NIGERIA
A row of Nigerian National Petroleum pipelines courses through the center of Okrika. The port town is home to a petroleum-products plant and the worst factional violence in the region. 

PHOTO BY ED KASHI

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ROMANIA
During World War II, U.S. warplanes attempted to bomb the Ploiesti oil complex, one of Europe's most productive. The Nazis repelled them, in part by lighting the oil on fire. Ever since, Romania's capacity has consistently diminished. Most of the plants now refine, not extract, oil. 

PHOTO BY Georg Gerster/PANOS

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VENEZUELA
Oil and duckweed algae coat Lake Maracaibo, a 13,000-square-kilometer salt lake. The duckweed feeds on sewage, kills fish, and can double in size in 24 hours. 

PHOTO BY Marcus Bleasdale/VII

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The country has 3 percent of the world's known oil reserves, but vast swaths of unexplored territory. Born just 18 years ago with the Soviet breakup, the oil industry there now provides half the country's exports and a third of its GDP. 

PHOTO BY Chris Stowers/PANOS

» Continue reading the FP special report: Oil | The Long Goodbye

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