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Oil is a major source of energy in Nigeria and the world in general. Oil being the mainstay of the Nigerian economy plays a vital role in shaping the economic and political destiny of the country. Although Nigeria’s oil industry was founded at the beginning of the century, it was not until the end of the Nigeria civil war (1967 - 1970) that the oil industry began to play a prominent role in the economic life of the country.

Nigeria can be categorized as a country that is primarily rural, which depends on primary product exports (especially oil products). Since the attainment of independence in 1960 it has experienced ethnic, regional and religious tensions, magnified by the significant disparities in economic, educational and environmental development in the south and the north. These could be partly attributed to the major discovery of oil in the country which affects and is affected by economic and social components.

Crude oil discovery has had certain impacts on the Nigeria economy both positively and adversely. On the negative side, this can be considered with respect to the surrounding communities within which the oil wells are exploited. Some of these communities still suffer environmental degradation, which leads to deprivation of means of livelihood and other economic and social factors. Although large proceeds are obtained from the domestic sales and export of petroleum products, its effect on the growth of the Nigerian economy as regards returns and productivity is still questionable,

1      Gbadebo Odularu is presently a Visiting Researcher at the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Centre William Rappard, Rue de Lausanne 154, Case postale 48, 1211 Geneve 21


Ó Oil and Gas Business, 2008                                                                             http://www.ogbus.ru/eng/


hence, the need to evaluate the relative impacts of crude oil on the economy. In the light of the study, the main objective is to assess the impact of crude oil on the Nigerian economy.

Given the fact that the oil sector is a very crucial sector in the Nigeria economy, there is the dire need for an appropriate and desirable production and export policy for the sector. In Nigeria, though crude oil has contributed largely to the economy, the revenue has not been properly used. Considering the fact that there are other sectors in the economy, the excess revenue made from the oil sector can be invested in them to diversify and also increase the total GDP of the economy.

This study comprises of five sections. Section two presents the background of the study, while the third section focuses on the research methodology. Section four includes data analysis and interpretation of results, and the final section presents and policy proposal and study conclusions.

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