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The Race to Share in Nigeria's Oil Bounty

The Energy Department says the United States depends on Africa for 18 percent of its petroleum imports. That percentage is growing rapidly. The biggest African producer is Nigeria.

For Nigerians, it's a promising moment. It's also perilous. The fight over who benefits from oil money is going on at all levels of Nigerian society.

Vast oil and gas reserves lie beneath the coastal swamps of the Niger River Delta. It's a desperately poor region with few good roads. And it is less peaceful than it looks.

Oil companies face hostility from gangsters, ethnic militias and even ordinary locals.

International energy companies point out that they've spent millions on Nigerian schools and hospitals. They've also paid billions of dollars in taxes. But that money has a way of disappearing in a country with a reputation for corruption.

Even so, it's good business to stay there as companies scramble across the globe to bolster their proven oil reserves.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Steve Inskeep is a host of NPR's Morning Edition, as well as NPR's morning news podcast Up First.