Oil is being stolen on an “industrial scale” in Nigeria, the world’s 13th largest producer, a new report from a prominent British research group said.
Thieves are stealing on average 100,000 barrels a day, the report estimates. Using elaborate networks and protected by corrupted security officials, thieves tap into the massive and isolated network of pipes that run across the southern Niger Delta region.
A hypothetical per-barrel price assumption of $100 would mean the annual losses generated by the theft would reach $3.65 billion.
Oil closed at $107.28 per barrel on Thursday.
It’s the country’s corrupt politicians and security officials who are profiting.
“Theft from tank farms, refinery storage tanks, jetties and ports,” according to the report. “Officials and private actors disguise theft through manipulation of meters and shipping documents.”
Shell has claimed a fivefold increase in losses due to theft between 2009 and 2012 — from 10,000 barrels per day in 2009 to 50,000 barrels per day in March of last year.