Oil's Final Frontier
UNTAPPED:The Scramble for Africa’s Oil.By John Ghazvinian.Harcourt.320 pp. $25
On a 2005 visit to southern Chad’s Doba Basin, John Ghazvinian stood on a road outside a fenced compound occupied by ExxonMobil. On one side, a 120-megawatt power plant operated by the U.S. oil company produced six times the amount of electricity generated in the rest of Chad, and posh amenities abounded: modern apartments, air conditioning, Internet access, basketball courts, a health clinic, even an airport. A sign proclaimed, “Home of the World’s Greatest Drilling Team.”
On the other side of the road, 10,000 people lived in squalor. Atan, a town that had taken root in the desert...