Fact Check: Video Does NOT Show Crude Oil Discovered In Burkina Faso -- It's Minnesota Sewer Pipe

Fact Check

  • by: Uliana Malashenko
Fact Check: Video Does NOT Show Crude Oil Discovered In Burkina Faso -- It's Minnesota Sewer Pipe Sewage Pipe

Does a viral video prove crude oil was found in Burkina Faso in January 2024? No, that's not true: The footage, originally published by a Minnesota-based company, shows a sewage pipe. No credible source reported the purported "news" of oil in the West African nation.

The claim appeared in a post (archived here) on X, formerly known as Twitter, on January 10, 2024. It opened:

Crude oil has been discovered in Burkina Faso. What are your thoughts on this?

This is what the post looked like on X at the time of writing:

Screen Shot 2024-01-11 at 11.56.45 AM.png

Twitter screenshot

(Source: X screenshot taken on Thu Jan 11 16:56:45 2024 UTC)

A low-quality 37-second video showed some black liquid of inconsistent density pouring out of the ground. In the first shot, it appeared to be almost water-like; but the second shot depicted it as a much thicker substance of mud or sludge consistency.

The footage didn't show complex machinery typically involved in oil production: An excavator was the only piece of equipment seen in the video.

The original video (archived here) uploaded on Facebook on December 23, 2023, by a Minnesota-based company did not discuss oil or Burkina Faso.

Its caption read:

We wish that was oil! We replaced this sewer this past week that was packed full of tree roots and had 4 patches in the 6" clay piping. It went well and we were all backfilled by about 12:30pm!

Screen Shot 2024-01-11 at 12.18.52 PM.png

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Jan 11 19:18:52 2024 UTC)

According to the company's website (archived here), it specializes in heating, ventilating and air сonditioning, plumbing, sewage and irrigation. The list of its services doesn't include anything remotely related to oil.

A Google search for the combination of the company's name and Burkina Faso (archived here) didn't produce any results:

Screen Shot 2024-01-11 at 12.30.00 PM.png

(Source: Google screenshot taken on Jan 11 17:30:00 2024 UTC)

As of November 30, 2023, Burkina Faso was not known for having its own crude oil (archived here.)

Had it changed, that would be a big news story. But a Google search for "crude oil" and "Burkina Faso" (archived here) limited to the period between the video's first upload and this writing only shows duplicates of the claim on social media or other irrelevant results.

Furthermore, the video on X had the sound removed from most posts on social media containing the claim. This audio on Facebook captured a man speaking English in the background. This language is not widely spoken in Burkina Faso: In addition to many local languages, its population utilizes French as an official language (archived here.)

Other Lead Stories fact checks about international topics can be found here.

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