News / Africa

Report: Oil Theft in Nigeria Has Worldwide Impact

A man carries oil canisters at an illegal refinery site in Nigeria's oil state of Bayelsa in this November 27, 2012, file photo.A man carries oil canisters at an illegal refinery site in Nigeria's oil state of Bayelsa in this November 27, 2012, file photo.
x
A man carries oil canisters at an illegal refinery site in Nigeria's oil state of Bayelsa in this November 27, 2012, file photo.
A man carries oil canisters at an illegal refinery site in Nigeria's oil state of Bayelsa in this November 27, 2012, file photo.
TEXT SIZE - +
Heather Murdock
— In Nigeria, stolen crude oil flows out of the Niger Delta at breathtaking rates, landing in markets in Nigeria and around the world.  A new study by London-based think tank Chatham House says it is not just the Nigerian authorities that are to blame.
 
At a Niger Delta market Anna Arube sells black-market petrol from jerrycans for about 80 cents a liter.  She pays the police about $3 a month not to get arrested.  Even so, Arube says, the job is not without its dangers.
 
“They should be careful over this business that we are doing because there is risk, do you understand?” – asks Arube.

The biggest risk is the flammable nature of her product, she says.  But there is very little risk of authorities clamping down.
 
Until 2009, militants in the Niger Delta battled the government and oil companies, saying they were fighting for the people’s right to the oil on their land.  Since then, the region has quieted, but oil theft and kidnapping are still rampant. 
 
Oil theft ‘deeply engrained’

A new Chatham House report says 100,000 barrels of oil are stolen daily from the Niger Delta, about five percent of the two million plus barrel per day output.  Some analysts put the total amount of stolen oil much higher, at 400,000 barrels a day.
 
Council on Foreign Relations Senior Fellow John Campbell, a former U.S. ambassador to Nigeria, says the problem is endemic.
 
“The heart of the matter is oil theft is deeply engrained now in the fabric of the Niger Delta and I would suggest [in] Nigerian life generally," says Campbell.

The report says military and government officials, militants, oil executives, crime rings, and communities all profit from oil theft.
 
The report adds oil theft in Nigeria impacts economies around the world as big-time thieves launder money in foreign countries and stolen oil disrupts the markets.  Foreign buyers, it says, should at least be researching the issue to see what they can do about regulating stolen oil in their own countries. 
 
The report also suggests legal means, like lawsuits and tracking regulation, to slow the flow of stolen oil.  But the report also warns many possible actions the international community could take, like sanctions or regulating oil sales, could worsen the situation.
 
Outside intervention ‘unrealistic’

Campbell says at this time international intervention is highly unlikely.
 
“It is unrealistic because for the international community to be involved to a greater degree in countering oil theft that’s going to require a very close partnership with the Nigerian government.  That is going to require a substantial political will on the part of the Nigerian government,” says Campbell.
 
The Nigerian government, he says, has other things to do and the military is “stretched thin.”
 
“The Nigerian government right now is consumed with a jihadist revolt in the north called Boko Haram.  It also worries about ongoing ethnic and religious conflict in the Middle Belt.  You end up with questions about capacity,” says Campbell.
 
Nigerian politicians, he adds, are also focused on the 2015 elections, and any disruption in the flow of oil money, both illegal and legal, would impact campaigns, making it an issue many people do not want to touch.
 
Hilary Uguru contributed to this report from the Niger Delta.

You May Like

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

46 people are confirmed dead, but some 250 remain trapped inside sunken ferry More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Manny from: Lagos
September 29, 2013 2:52 AM
Nothing new here. The nigerian government just pays lip service to oil theft. Money generated is used to fund the party because it is ruling party men that are in the business. How can a government be unable to guard its waters. Huge tankers come to your territorial waters stay several days Lift your crude and just sail away. There are probably less than six entrances to the Niger delta. How can the navy not block out these entrances. If the oil cannot make it out Only the local crude theft will be left to tackle and that might be negligible. Give me a break here. This business will never stop there is too much money to make by the poorly paid military that us supposed to stop it. Nigeria is just one big disappointment to decent people.


by: S.G. YIASE from: MAKURDI, BENUE STATE
September 20, 2013 4:30 AM
We know where the problems are; oil theft, corruption, greed, grab, they all are related. The issues that need to be addressed are not.The GOP is more important than the Nation. Oil theft is not important provided there is enough to grab. we do not distinguish between what is for the prince and what is for the pig because all are served on the same table and the prince must first have his fill. Its got to be tough for the pig.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid