On August 28, 1928, in the Scottish highlands, began the secret story of oil. Three men had an appointment at Achnacarry Castle - a Dutchman, an American and an Englishman. (This Documentary Is courtesy of Aljazeera)
At the end of the 1960s, the Seven Sisters, the major oil companies, controlled 85 percent of the world's oil reserves. Today, they control just 10 percent. New hunting grounds are therefore required, and the Sisters have turned their gaze towards Africa. With peak oil, wars in the Middle East, and the rise in crude prices, Africa is the oil companies' new battleground.
"Everybody thought there could be oil in Sudan but nobody knew anything. It was revealed through exploration by the American company Chevron, towards the end of the 70s. And that was the beginning of the second civil war, which went on until 2002. It lasted for 19 years and cost a million and a half lives and the oil business was at the heart of it."
- Gerard Prunier, a historian
But the real story, the secret story of oil, begins far from Africa. In their bid to dominate Africa, the Sisters installed a king in Libya, a dictator in Gabon, fought the nationalisation of oil resources in Algeria, and through corruption, war and assassinations, brought Nigeria to its knees.
Oil may be flowing into the holds of huge tankers, but in Lagos, petrol shortages are chronic.The country's four refineries are obsolete and the continent's main oil exporter is forced to import refined petrol - a paradox that reaps fortunes for a handful of oil companies. Encouraged by the companies, corruption has become a system of government - some $50bn are estimated to have 'disappeared' out of the $350bn received since independence.
But new players have now joined the great oil game.
China, with its growing appetite for energy, has found new friends in Sudan, and the Chinese builders have moved in. Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir is proud of his co-operation with China - a dam on the Nile, roads, and stadiums.
In order to export 500,000 barrels of oil a day from the oil fields in the South - China financed and built the Heglig pipeline connected to Port Sudan - now South Sudan's precious oil is shipped through North Sudan to Chinese ports.
In a bid to secure oil supplies out of Libya, the US, the UK and the Seven Sisters made peace with the once shunned Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, until he was killed during the Libyan uprising of 2011, but the flow of Libyan oil remains uninterrupted.
In need of funds for rebuilding, Libya is now back to pumping more than a million barrels of oil per day. And the Sisters are happy to oblige.
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