REUTERS ARTICLE QUOTES NELSON INSTITUTE DIRECTOR, COLLEAGUES ON NIGERIA OIL FUTURES

February 9, 2007

HARRISONBURG—As oil prices surged about $2 a barrel on Thursday, closing at $59.71 a barrel for U.S. crude and $59.03 a barrel for London Brent, Dr. J. Peter Pham, Director of the Nelson Institute for International and Public Affairs at James Madison University, and other experts warned that tensions in Nigeria in the lead-up to that country’s April elections could tighten the market even further.

Citing the kidnappings, armed robberies, and militant attacks on oil infrastructure—which has shut down at least a fifth of Nigeria’s oil production capacity for the past year—which it notes “could escalate further as politicians sponsor their own militias to intimidate votes” in the run-up to the poll, the story by the Reuters news agency reports a widespread consensus by both governmental and private sector analysts that “Nigeria could lose its status as Africa’s largest oil producer if companies and workers decide it is too dangerous to operate in the volatile nation.”

The article by the news agency’s London-based energy correspondent, Randy Fabi, headlined “Nigeria Election Nears, Oil Industry Shudders,” quotes Dr. Pham as noting, “It’s very possible. It wouldn’t require much more from militants as low-tech attacks have already cut production by 20 percent.”

To read the article, click here.