Nigeria Lost $10 Billion to Crude Oil Theft in Seven Months

Nigeria Lost $10 Billion to Crude Oil Theft in Seven Months

  • Nigeria has lost billions of dollars to oil theft in the last couple of years, depriving it of development
  • Recently, there was a discovery of massive oil theft which ran through the Niger Delta creeks
  • The loss of revenue due to oil theft is enough to build much-needed infrastructure in the country

In September this year, the Chief Executive Officer of NNPC, Mele Kyari, expressed deep worries about the troubling spate of crude oil theft in Nigeria, which undermines Nigeria's production capacity.

He blamed sectors of the Nigerian system for stealing millions of barrels of crude oil, stating that fuel and other petroleum products were discovered in churches and mosques.

Oil theft, Niger Delta, Infrastructure
Oil theft costs Nigeria billions of dollars in critical infrastructure Oil theft Credit: Horacio Villalobos / Contributor
Source: Getty Images

Oil theft is equivalent to country's external reserves

Premium Times reports that between January and July, Nigeria lost an average of 437,000 barrels of oil daily to criminal elements who tap pipelines onshore and offshore in the Niger Delta area.

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When calculated at today's prices, the oil theft is more than $10 billion, an equivalent of N4.3 trillion. The loss is 50 more than Nigeria's external reserves, double more than Nigeria's total revenue from January to April 2022.

NEITI: Nigeria lost $2.77bn to crude oil theft in 2019

In 2019, Nigeria lost 42.25 million barrels of crude oil valued at $2.77 billion, according to the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI).

Vanguard reporting stated that the report on Oil and Gas was presented to the media and CSOs in Lagos.

The report revealed that Nigeria earned $34.22 billion from the oil and gas sector in 2019, representing a 4.88 per cent increase over the 32.63 billion realised the year before.

The 2019 estimates cover 98 entities, including 88 oil and gas firms, nine government agencies and the Nigerian Liquified Natural Gas (NLNG) Company.

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A BBC report cited a network of illegal oil pipelines discovered in Nigeria's Niger Delta area, which revealed the extent of theft in the country.

The discoveries shocked many about the extent of oil theft in Nigeria, which has deprived the country of much-needed scarce resources.

The country is battling a budget deficit caused by declining oil output which has relegated it to the fourth-highest oil-producing country in Africa, behind Angola, Libya and Morocco.

Tompolo's 'magic' wand

Thieves built a 4-kilometre pipeline via the heavily secured creeks to the Atlantic ocean. The thieves brazenly loaded the stolen oil from a 24-foot rig which could be seen from miles on the open ocean.

Kyari called it a professional job as he waded through the swamped creeks, retracing the path during the televised visit.

According to various sources, the recent discovery of illicit pipelines confirms massive corruption in the oil industry.

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The latest discovery was by a private security firm owned by Government Ekpemupolo, popularly known as Tompolo, a former Niger Delta militant.

But analysts believe that the humongous oil theft is costing the Nigerian billions of dollars in developing critical infrastructure.

In today's estimates, the billions of dollars lost to oil theft are enough to build the following:

  • A World-class hospital -$73 million
  • Rail system - $2.2 million
  • Airport Terminals - $500 million
  • Abidjan-Lagos Highway - $15.6bn

NNPC locates, shuts down 395 illegal refineries associated with Forcados, hints on illegal oil pipeline reported that the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC) is putting all its efforts into stopping the monstrous growing oil theft in Nigeria.

According to the company's Chief Executive Officer, Mele Kyari, the firm has discovered and dismantled the operations of about 395 illegal refineries linked to the Forcados, a small town in the Niger Delta.

Kyari said the company had deactivated the illegal refineries, taken down 273 wooden boats, and ruined 374 illegal reservoirs and 1,561 metal tanks.


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