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Petrobras to build ethanol plant in Niger Delta to help alleviate crisis

Oil companies and local elites extract vast oil wealth from the Delta, whereas the local population lives in dire poverty. This has caused a social and political crisis, with youngsters and local militias turning against the oil companies, often in violent clashes. Kidnappings of oil workers have become a routine, and local ‘volunteer armies’ have warned for ‘total war’. The crisis has so far led to a reduction of as much as 25% of Nigeria’s crude oil output, with a spike in global petroleum prices as a result. (…) Now, in a very interesting turn of events, Brazil’s state-owned oil company Petrobras is taking the courageous step to build an ethanol plant right in the middle of this troubled region. According to Brazil’s state news agency, the aim is to make biofuel from sugar cane and to boost prices for the crop grown by the local people. By strengthening the incomes of local farming communities and by providing jobs, the company hopes it can contribute to solving the Delta crisis, mainly driven by poverty.

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