In Nigeria, oil was reportedly first discovered in Bayelsa State, in the Niger Delta, in 1956. According to the Organization of the Petroleum Export Countries (OPEC), Nigeria currently has the world’s tenth largest crude oil reserves and is the world’s thirteenth-largest producer of crude oil.
While oil exploration and production in the Niger Delta began in the late 1950s, operations were suspended in Ogoniland in the early 1990s due to disruptions from local public unrest. The oilfields and installations have since largely remained dormant. However, major oil pipelines still cross through Ogoniland and oil spills continue to affect the region, due to such factors as a lack of maintenance and vandalism to oil infrastructure and facilities.
Environmental contamination in Ogoniland from oil spills remains untreated, or only partially remediated, today.