Anglo-Ducth supermajor Shell estimates about 100,000 barrels per day of crude oil are being stolen from its operations in the Niger Delta, adding there was no sign that this figure is reducing.
“We don’t have any confirmed figures for theft of oil, but we estimated about 100,000 barrels a day. But other estimates are much higher,” said Nick Wood, Shell vice president of communications for the company’s international upstream operations, according to a Dow Jones report.
Shell said that in the last five years, 75% of oil spills in the region have been caused by “third party interference”. Spills in the Niger Delta are common, caused by militant attacks on oil infrastructure or locals stealing oil from pipelines for use in illegal refineries.
Experts estimate that at least 9 million barrels of crude oil have been spilled in the Delta since oil production began there in 1958 – nearly twice as much as flowed last year into the Gulf of Mexico from BP’s Macondo well.
Shell executive Godson Njoku said final responsibility for preventing crude oil theft, or “bunkering”, rested with the Nigerian government, Dow Jones reported.
“Ultimately the oil industry doesn’t have the capacity to police all our infrastructure and it is the responsibility of the government to address this issue. Only the government have the authority to provide adequate security to manage what is a terrible drain on Nigeria’s economy as well as a source of major oil spills,” said Njoku.