20 February 2013, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Nigerian government says it has obtained assurances from world leaders to help stem the incidence of crude oil theft in the Niger delta which accounts for loses in excess of 200,000 barrels per day.
In a keynote address delivered at the CWC-organized Nigerian Oil and Gas Conference in Abuja, Alison-Madueke said the federal government is championing the crude oil finger print to detect crude oil theft purchased by other nations as well as seeking the support of the global community.
She said President Goodluck Jonathan has held talks with world leaders, including UK Prime Minister David Cameron, to help stem crude theft in the Niger Delta, minister of Petroleum Resources Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke has disclosed.
“We already have Mr. President meeting with David Cameron in England a week ago and it came up there.
“They have already pledged to assist us fully in dealing with this and as the structures are put in place, they will begin to come on board, they are very ardent at joining us to actually rid ourselves of these particular scourge but I cannot begin to list the countries right now,” she said.
Oil theft, known in Nigeria as bunkering, is a major reason Africa’s top producer has been unable to produce anywhere near its installed capacity of around 3.2 million b/d and deprives the country of revenues estimated at more than $7 billion a year.
Shell’s country chair for Nigeria Mutiu Sunmonu also speaking at the conference said the lucrative business of oil theft continues to underscore the perennial problems of insecurity in the Niger Delta region.
“Militancy has been replaced by industrial-scale oil theft,” Sunmonu said.
Alison-Madueke further warned that Nigeria is coming under increasing competitive pressure from US Gulf Coast refiners cutting imports in favor of domestically-produced crude.
US purchases of crude fell to a five-year low in the last few months, pushing Nigeria to sixth position from fifth among suppliers to the world’s largest consumer.
“US shale oil and an increase in their gas production is already affecting our exports to the United States. Bear in mind that the United States is one of our major importers in this sector,” the minister said.
Sunmonu also said the discovery of shale gas in the US has not only led to the decline in the demand for Nigeria’s crude but also poses a threat for other producers.
“This path towards self-sufficiency [by the US] has been there for a long time and it poses a serious challenge to oil producers from sub-Saharan African like Nigeria,” he said.
The Paris-based International Energy Agency says the US could become the world’s biggest oil producer by 2017.