Stories: Oil

  • Congo’s quiet collapse

    Far from the international spotlight, the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC’s) crisis is silently suffocating its citizens. On a humid morning in Mbandaka — the crumbling provincial capital of the densely forested Équateur province in the DRC — 50-year-old Jerome Bokele sits on a broken wooden chair in the courtyard of his small breezeblock compound....

  • Oil and Lava

    On the final day of March 2014, President Rafael Correa was blinking away tears on live television. Extreme close-ups showed the bombastic leader struggling to suppress emotion as he listened to student Daniela Armijo thank him for creating “the hope of a new Ecuador.” But Armijo was not just any student. And this was not a run-of-the-mill political event....

  • Ecuador’s Oil Bust Draws Parallels to 1990s Financial Crisis

    Ecuador's economy is faltering thanks to a year of record low oil prices and fears of a "godzilla" El Niño forming in the Pacific Ocean. The situation is drawing bizarre parallels to the last major financial crisis to hit the small South American country in the late 1990s. KELLY MCEVERS, HOST: People in Ecuador are worried they'...

  • In Ecuador, Dependency on Beijing Financing of Development Projects Raises Fears, Uncertainty

    The long stretch of roadway snaking through the parched, rolling hills outside this sleepy Ecuadorean port city will one day wind up at the foot of one of the country’s most buzzed-about development projects: a mega-refinery that will transform Ecuador into a formidable force in the region’s oil and gas industry. When the grand structure is...

  • Can the Paris Talks Save the Amazon?

    Huaorani natives and YASunidos activists march in Quito on April 12, 2014. Photo: Rodrigo Buendia/Getty Images With tens of thousands of climate officials converging on Paris at the end of the month to seek an international agreement on global warming, environmentalists are reviving a controversial plan to protect a pristine stretch of the Amazon’s Yasuni National Park, which...

  • Long Wait for Justice in Amazon Pollution Case

    It is exactly 22 years since the first class-action lawsuit was filed on behalf of the residents of the Ecuadorian Amazon region, known as the 'Oriente,' against Texaco in New York for allegedly causing environmental damage and increasing the risk of exposure to diseases like cancer among others. The US company is accused of dumping toxic waste water carrying hazardous hydrocarbons...

  • An Oil Dispute in Niger Is Exposing Big Problems With Chinese Investment in Africa

    On August 14, a compressor failed at the Soraz oil refinery near Zinder, Niger, crippling one of the very few pieces of industrial infrastructure in one of the poorest countries in the world. The thing is, there may never have been a compressor blowout. According to multiple energy-industry sources who spoke with Business Insider, the shutdown of the Soraz...

  • Top Russian Officials Are Starting to Realize That the Country’s Economy Is in Big Trouble

    You wouldn’t know it from the Chanel boutiques and Maserati dealerships lining the boulevards inside Moscow’s Garden Ring, but economic conditions in Russia are becoming dire. The ruble has weakened to record lows not seen since the 1990s, capital is bleeding out of the country for the first time since the 2008 financial crisis, and the economy...

  • Kazakhstan: No Longer Butt of Joke

    It doesn’t take more than a few minutes in Astana — Kazakhstan’s futuristic new capital — to make you forget what little you may have assumed about the country, most of it no doubt from a certain Sacha Baron Cohen movie. Until about a decade ago, Astana was “an insignificant provincial town,...

  • In the End Is the Beginning: Kazakhstan After Nazarbayev

    Kazakhstan has everything going for it: enormous natural resources from oil and gas to gold, uranium and rare earth metals; a young, multi-lingual population; and thousands of young foreign trained graduates, who return home every year under President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s Bolashak scholarship program. But behind Nazarbayev’s strong leadership are weak institutions, a puppet parliament, fettered...