Africa and the Oil Industry
History 4396/Course # 05286
Dr. K. Klieman
Office: 527-A Agnes Arnold
Phone: (713) 743-3106
Office Hours: Wed. 3-5 and by appointment
Although few Americans are aware of it, Africa is currently undergoing historic events of a momentous nature – so momentous in fact, they could be compared to the commencement of the Atlantic Slave Trade or the Era of European Colonization. These events are referred to in oil circles as the “Third Scramble for Africa” because international oil companies are currently scrambling to grab oil exploration rights in nearly all of the countries on the African country. The U.S. government and military is aiding American oil companies in these endeavors, since African oil is seen as a solution to our continued and problematic dependence on Middle Eastern sources of oil. The U.S. currently imports 15% of its oil from Africa, but within the next year this amount will increase to 25%. Conservative estimates indicate that Africa will receive over $200 billion in oil revenues alone over next decade –the largest and most concentrated influx of revenue in Africa’s history.
So what does this mean for Africa and Africans? Oil revenues will either “make” or “break” the continent of Africa, depending on how they are managed in the future. Judging by the record of African countries that have been producing oil since WWII, the prospects don’t look good. Each and every one of the African oil-producing countries is characterized by military or authoritarian political systems, extensive corruption among the ruling elite, and drastically diminished standard of living for the general populace. As is the case in the Middle East, African oil-exporters are suffering from “The Natural Resource Curse” or “The Paradox of Plenty.” Oil-rich countries have actually experienced more political turmoil, violence, and poverty than those that do not have exportable natural resources.
This class is designed to expose students to these issues through studying both the history and political economy of oil production in Africa. After a few lectures focused on the economic history of Africa during the Atlantic Slave Trade era, the colonial era, and the Cold War era, we will study the impact of oil extraction in three specific countries: Gabon, Nigeria, and Angola. Among the issues covered will be the role of multinational oil companies in Africa, the phenomenon of Dutch Disease in African countries, the impact of environmental degradation and local resistance in oil producing communities, the role of African and international elite in corrupt practice involving oil revenues, and the role of mercenaries and armed forces in protecting international oil interests.
As you might guess, this is not going to be an easy class. These are very serious issues, especially in Houston – the center of the American “Scramble for Africa.” The course requires a great deal of reading, much of it of an economic and technical nature. If you are not interested in issues of international economics, development, globalization, corporate ethics, and peoples resistance, you should not take the class. Exams will be based on readings and lectures and there will be no way of “skating” through. If you can’t make the commitment to read and participate on a regular basis – please don’t take the class. If you can do it, however, the class will be exceptionally rewarding. It will awaken you to the political economy of oil on a global scale, allowing you to better understand the political and economic systems of the world we live in today.
There are Four Required Texts
-Khapoya, Vincent, The African Experience (Prentice Hall, 1994)
-Achebe, Chinua, A Man of the People (Anchor, 1989)
-Yates, Douglas, The Rentier State in Africa: Oil Rent, Dependency, and Neocolonialism in the Republic of Gabon (Africa World Press, 1996)
-Oronta, Ike and Oronto Douglas, Where Vultures Feast: Shell, Human Rights, and Oil in the Niger Delta (Sierra Club Books, 2001)
You will also be required to read a number of additional chapters, articles and reports (see syllabus and reading list on back page for the full list). These will be given to you on a disk….
Weekly Responses/Quizzes (responses must be typed, none accepted late) 25%
Midterm (Week 8, 1 essay, three short answer 25%
Final Exam (Week 15, 1 essay, three short answer 25%
Final Research Paper (due during finals week) 20%
Advance meeting re: paper topic, bring biblio/sources 5%
Extra Credit Possibilities
These are points that will be added onto your final grade at end of class.
- Class presentation: (possible 10 points; 1 or 2 students)
Select one of readings with asterisk above, meet with professor in advance to make sure you have key points, present the article to students (presentation of at least 40 min).You will be graded on 1) ability to articulate key points of article, 2) overall coherency of presentation, and 3) creativity/originality in presentation.
2. Watch a Film From/About Africa: (possible 2.5 points each/up to5 possible)
I will hand out a list of films available in Library/Blockbuster/Cactus, etc. for check-out. You will have to write a 3 page analysis of the film indicating how
it related to issues we have studied in class (instructions to be handed out)
3. Attend Relevent Events/Exhibits in Town (2.5 each/5 pts possible)
These will be mentioned in class – and involve things like watching related films on Africa, going to the Natural History Museum to see the oil rig exhibit, attending campus or community events that relate to African oil, economic, or development issues.
-You need to bring your books to class. If there is reading assigned for that day, bring that book!
-There are no make-ups for weekly assignments. You either do them and turn them in in class on the day they are due or you don’t. Don’t ask me for a make-up on these - do extra credit.
-Weekly assignments must be turned in typed. Otherwise no grade.
-Missed exams will only be excused with doctor’s notes or other formal documentation.
-Late Papers will be marked down one grade for each school day they are late (I won’t count weekend days). I will not accept them after the third school day.
-Do not put papers under my door. Turn them into the history office and have them dated and signed by one of the History office employees. If I receive them under door they will get a “0” grade.
-Papers need to be double-spaced, normal margins, not bold or specialized font, size 12 font. Any attempts to “fatten” your paper will be immediately recognized by me. I will hand it back to you and take off a whole grade if you do this.
-Regarding the research paper- if you do not have the minimum of pages required I will take off a full grade. 15 pages means 15 pages - go to the bottom of the page. Study and read enough to make the minimum. If you have trouble doing this, notify me and come see me so we can work on it together.
-University Policy on academic honesty will be strictly reinforced. Plagiarism and “cheating” will not be tolerated, and can lead to a failing grade in the course and/or suspension from the University. If you are not clear about what plagiarism and/or “cheating” is, ask the professor, or see the university handbook.
-Attendance: you are expected to be in class for each meeting. Skipping classes will drastically affect your grade.
-Respect one another! In discussions and questions/answer sessions, we must create an environment where all students feel free to ask questions, express their views. If this isn’t allowed to happen, destructive myths and stereotypes continue to exist, nothing will be learned. It’s ok to disagree; if you do, state it clearly, and we can go on to a lively, informative, and educational discussion or debate. Avoid personal attacks; avoid the use of racist, sexist, or offensive language. Either of these types of behaviors can shutdown the learning process of individuals, and will not be tolerated in class! If you don’t know what constitutes racist, sexist, offensive languages (many people honestly don’t!) come see the professor in office hours to discuss.
-Last day to drop course w/out grade: Feb. 14
-Last day to drop course: April 4
If you are failing as this date approaches I’m going to encourage you to drop. If you don’t do it, but you end up wanting to drop the class after this, you have to go to the Dean’s office and get a petition before I will drop you.
-Last but not least:
Please make me aware if you are having extreme troubles understanding the readings or class
materials. Don’t sit quiet all semester and suffer. No matter how confused you are I will work with you. If you are truly trying but keep getting bad grades, come see me and tell me. We can fix it.
Course Readings: (Note: Subject to Change at Professor’s Discretion)
Jan. 17 – Introduction to Class
Jan. 19 - Overview Lecture: “The Current Scramble for Oil in Africa”
Reading (handout): Anderson, Jon Lee, “Our New Best Friend: Who Needs Saudi Arabia When You’ve Got Sao Tome?” The New Yorker, Oct. 7, 2002.
Hand in Quiz #1: Cite and explain three problems that new oil producing countries in Africa face.
Jan 24- Background: African Cultures/Africa and the Global Economy, 1000-1880
Reading: Khapoya ch. 1 and 2 (p. 1-65)
Jan 26 – Colonial Rule in Africa, 1880’s – 1960’s
Reading: Khapoya, ch. 4 (p. 111-146)
Hand in Quiz #2 – After reading the chapter, identify and explain briefly what
you consider to be the five worst things about colonialism for Africans
(#1 being the worst, and so on… at least a paragraph on each)
Jan 31- Film: Ali Mazrui – “Tools of Exploitation”
Feb. 2- Problems of Early African States/Understanding Corruption
Novel: Chinua Achebe’s A Man of the People
Hand in Quiz #3: Answer Questions re: novel (to be handed out)
Feb. 7 – The 1980’s, aka “The Lost Decade”: IFI’s and the Debt Crisis in Africa
Readings: Gibson and Tsakalotos, “The International Debt Crisis….”
Quiz #4 (in class): T/F on Hewitt Reading
Feb. 9 – The Impact of Structural Adjustment Programs (SAP’s) in Africa, 1980- present
Readings: Mosely, “Have Structural Adjustement Policies…?”)
Danaher, various short articles, Fifty Years is Enough
Global Exchange, “Women and the Global Economy”
Chussodovsky, “Economic Genocide in Rwanda”
Student Presentation ? (2) ______________________________________
Feb. 14 –From Rockefeller to the Seven Sisters: The Global Oil Industry, 1890- 1960
Readings: Falola and Genova, chapters 1 and 2
Hand-in Quiz #5: Do worksheet re: Falola and Genova reading
(to be handed out)
Feb. 16 – Film: Daniel Yergin’s “The Prize,” (program #6: “Power to the Producers”)
Feb. 21 – The Formation of OPEC/Challenges to the Majors in the 60’s
Reading: Yergin, D., ch. 25 of The Prize ( “The Elephants”)
Feb. 23 – Mattei’s African Strategy: Refineries and the Congo Petroleum Wars
Reading: Klieman, “ Oil, Politics, and the Development….”
Quiz #6 (in class): Short Answer
Feb. 28 – The Natural Resource Curse in Africa
Reading: Gary and Karl, “Bottom of the Barrel”
March 2 – Gabon: The Problems of the “Rentier” State
Reading: Yates, pg. 1-142 (First Three Chapters -Be Ready to Discuss!)
Hand in Quiz #7: Answer Questions (to be handed out)
March 7 – Gabon (cont.)
Reading: Yates, pg. 142-236 (Last Four Chapters - Be Ready to Discuss)
Student Presentation ? (2):____________________________________
March 9 – Midterm – Bring Blue Book!
Week 9 – Spring Break
March 21 – Oil Companies in Underdeveloped Nations: What Role/Responsibility?
Film: “Extreme Oil”
March 23 – Oil Production in Nigeria: The Early Years (1960’s – 1980’s)
Reading: Turner and Oshare, “Women’s Uprisings”
Quiz # 8 (in class): (Students presenters will compose it)
Student Presentation ? (2) ____________________________
March 28 – Delta People’s Struggles against Shell/Nigerian government
Reading: Oronta and Douglas, ch. 1-6 (pg. 1-156)
Quiz #9: T/F in Class
March 30 – Delta Peoples’ Struggles, cont
Reading: Oronta and Douglas, ch. 7 and 8 (pg. 157-209)
Global Policy Forum (BBC), “Shell Admits to Fueling Corruption”
Student Presentation ? (1): _________________________________________
April 4 – Shell: What Went Wrong/How to Fix it?
Readings: Drohan, ch. 6 “Shell in Nigeria”
Le Pin, “The Levereged Buy-In”
Useem, “Exxons’ African Adventure”
Hand in Quiz #10: (questions to be handed out)
April 6 – More on Oil Companies, Armed Forces,“Strategic Philanthropy” in Africa
Reading: Barnes, S. “Global Flows: Terror, Oil, and Strategic Philanthropy”
Student Presentation ? (2): ________________________________________
April 11 – Angola: “The Oil Jackpot of the 21st Century”
Readings: Iley, Karen, various articles re: Angola
Drohan, “Ranger in Angola”
Quiz #11: in class (to be prepared by student presenters)
Student Presentation? (2):_________________________________________
April 13 – Film: “Angola: Aids Warriors”
April 18 – The Recent Scandals in Equatorial Guinea
Readings: “Black Sheep, Big Trouble”/various online news clips
Quiz #12: in class (to be prepared by student presenter)
Student Presentation ? (1) _________________________________
April 20- The International Push for Transparency/Good News from Sao Tome (?)
Readings: OGEP article/Various online news clips
Student Presentation? (1)_________________________________________
April 25 – TBA
April 27 –Final Exam in Class (Bring Blue Book!)
Note: 15 page Research Papers due by Thursday May 11, 2006, 5pm
Deposit them in the History Office (have them put in my box)
List of Additional Readings from various sources…….(all on CD that will be handed out in class)
1. Anderson, Jon Lee “Our New Best Friend: Who Needs Saudi Arabia When You’ve
Got Sao Tome?” p. 74-83 in The New Yorker, Oct. 7, 2002.
2. Gibson, H.D. and E. Tsakalotos, “The International Debt Crisis: Causes, Consequences, and Solutions,”
pg. 41-65 in Hewitt, Tom, Hazel Johnson, and David Wield, Industrialization and Development (Oxford University Press, 2002).
3. Mosely, G. “Have Structural Adjustment Policies Been Effective at Promoting
Development in Africa?” from Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Controversial African Issues, p.34-51.
4. Danaher, Kevin, “Myths of African Hunger,” Revised Edition (4 pages), Institute for Food
and Development Policy, 1987.
5. Global Exchange Document: “Women and the Global Economy” (7 pages)
6. Danaher, Kevin, (ed.) Fifty Years is Enough: The Case against the World Bank and the
International Monetary Fund, p. 6-13; 24-38
7. Chussodovsky, M. “Economic Genocide in Rwanda” Economic and Political Weekly, April 13, 1996,
8. Falola T., and A. Genova, The Politics of the Global Oil Industry: An Introduction (Praeger, 2005), ch. 1
and 2 (pg. 3-42).
9. Yergen, D. The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money, and Power (Simon and Schuster, 1991), ch. 25
“The Elephants”, p. (499-518)
10. Klieman, Kairn “Oil, Politics, and Development in the Formation of a State: The Congolese Petroleum
Wars, 1963-1968.” (unpublished paper)
11. Gary, Ian and Terry Lynn Karl for Catholic Relief Services, Bottom of the Barrel: Africa’s Oil Boom
and the Poor, p. 9-42 (“Africa’s Oil Boom” and “The Paradox of Plenty”)
12. Turner, T. and M.O. Oshare “Women’s Uprisings Against the Nigerian Oil Industry
in the 1980’s” p. 123-160 in Arise Ye Mighty People: Gender, Class, and Race in Popular Struggles (Africa World Press, 1994)
13. Global Policy Forum, “Shell Admits Fuelling Corruption) – short article from BBC,
June 11, 2004
14. Drohan, M., “Shell in Nigeria,” ch. 6 (pg. 163-187) in Making a Killing: How and Why Corporations
Use Armed Force to Do Business (Lyon’s Press, 2004).
15. LePin, Deidre, “The Leveraged Buy-in: Creating an Enabling Environment for Business through
Strategic Social Investments.” Paper prepared for Society of Petroleum Engineers Conference on Health, Safety, and the Environment in Oil and Gas Exploration and Production (Stavanger, Norway, 26-28 June 2000)
16. Useem, Jerry, “Exxon’s African Adventure” Fortune, April 15, 2002, (7 pages)
17. Barnes, Sandra T. “Global Flows: Terror, Oil, and Strategic Philanthropy,” pgs. 1-23 in African Studies
Review, (Vol. 48:1, April 2005)
18. Iley, Karen, “Poor Little Oil-Rich Country,” “Faltering Steps on the Road to ‘Angolisation’”, and “Oil
Industry Cries Foul Over Banking Bill that Would Tie Up Profits in the Country,” all in Upstream, 17 September, 2004.
19. Drohan, M. “Ranger Oil in Angola”, ch 7 (pg. 189-215) and “Conclusion” (pg. 320-329) of Making A
20. “Black Sheep, Big Trouble” (re: Mark Thatcher and the Attempted Coup in Equatorial Guinea), pg.
122-126; 154-157 of Vanity Fair, January 2005.
21. Bell, J.C. and T. M. Faria, “Sao Tome and Principe Enacts Oil Revenue Law, Sets New Transparency,
Accountability, and Governance Standards” (8 pgs) in Oil, Gas, and Energy Law Intelligence (OGEL), Vol. 3, Issue 1, March 2005.