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.
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

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More