Oil thieves ‘drain Nigeria coffers’

Suspected crude oil thieves with their vessel in the background.14 August 2013, News Wires – Nigeria reportedly lost as much as $1.2 billion from crude theft in a single month in the first quarter as illegal bunkering and sea piracy pose an increasing threat to the economy of Africa’s largest oil producer.

Official figures indicate the trade in stolen oil led to a 17% fall in official oil sales in the first quarter of 2013, estimated at 400,000 barrels per day, according to a statement issued this week by President Goodluck Jonathan’s special adviser on the oil-rich Niger Delta, Kingsley Kuku, cited by AFP.

Recent reports have indicated Nigeria loses about $6 billion in annual revenue due to oil thieves tapping pipelines to sell crude on the lucrative black market, with the $1.2 billion loss cited in the statement calculated on the basis of a $121 per-barrel oil price in the first quarter.

The International Energy Agency last month blamed Nigerian oil theft for damage to pipeline infrastructure as well as cutting Opec’s output volumes.

Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, a subsidiary of the Anglo-Dutch supermajor, recently shut down the Nembe Creek trunkline in southern Bayelsa State for repairs after it was breached by oil thieves.

The temporary closure is estimated to cost 150,000 barrels per day in lost output, the statement said.

An official one-day conference is being staged on 15 August in Lagos to examine possible measures to address both oil theft and piracy.

It will discuss “the complexities of illegal oil bunkering (theft)… and sea piracy with a view to rethinking the existing mechanisms to eradicate these negative incidences that have been haemorrhaging the nation’s oil resources”, according to the statement.

Supply vessels and oil ships have been increasingly targeted of late in a surge of piracy attacks off Nigeria with attackers carrying out cargo theft, robbery and kidnappings.

– Upstream

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