Any resolution to crude oil theft?

Nigeria misplaced about $39.2billion to crude oil theft and petroleum merchandise losses between 2009 and 2019. But advocacy teams within the oil and fuel business, such because the New Nigeria Foundation (NNF), consider the issue is stoppable, writes ROBERT EGBE and ALAO ABIODUN.

Oil theft in Nigeria is nothing new. The nation misplaced $38.5 billion to the menace between 2009 and 2018, a Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) report acknowledged final November.

This is other than the $1.6 billion on home crude and one other $1.eight billion on refined petroleum merchandise, which shot up the loss to $42 billion throughout the interval.

A February 18, 2020 report by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) stated the nation misplaced one other $750 million to grease theft in 2019.

It will get worse

Nigeria grew to become the world’s oil theft capital final October following a report that roughly 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) was being stolen within the nation.

Mexico, which got here second, recorded solely roughly 5000 to 10000 bpd loss to grease theft.

The report was the end result of a examine on oil theft carried out by the Nigeria Natural Resource Charter (NNRC).

Last Thursday, an advocacy group within the oil and fuel business, New Nigeria Foundation (NNF) broke down the figures even additional within the newest version of its Factsheet, ‘Unboxing crude oil theft in Nigeria’.

It stated the about N15 trillion that Nigeria misplaced to crude oil theft between 2015 and 2018 amounted to  about 17 per cent of its four-year price range.

According to NNF, the quantity misplaced may have bridged 28.7 per cent of Nigeria’s price range deficit throughout the interval underneath evaluate.

NNF Senior Programme Manager, Chikodi Chiedo, famous that crude oil theft is a multi-billion greenback enterprise with a variety of gamers at numerous stage concerned.

Why crude oil theft persists

Crude oil theft happens for a number of causes, together with poverty, excessive unemployment and grievances about useful resource management, amongst others.

The NNRC examine additionally recognized a number of others. They embrace: Poor governance of oil income, corruption and a lopsided income construction, amongst others.

The report stated: “Between 1999 2016, oil-producing states obtained N7.006 trillion as cost underneath derivation precept however delivered little or no growth.

“A 2005 World Bank report estimated 80 percent of Nigeria’s oil and gas revenues accrued to one percent of its population, 99 percent of the population received the remaining 20 percent.”

It stated this led to the emergence of militant teams demanding useful resource management and growth. Kidnappings, sabotage and unlawful bunkering quickly adopted.

Security contracts have been then awarded to the militants to guard pipelines. This gave them direct entry to the pipelines and alternative to steal all once more. Efforts to curtail this new development have been met with threats of additional vandalism. Stakeholders discovered that it was cheaper to pay safety charges than to restore.

Oil firms weren’t unnoticed of the blame

The NNRC report accused oil companies of insufficient implementation of worldwide greatest practices which led to deva stating environmental degradation. Damage to the setting prompted well being subject which in flip restricted financial stimulus.

It added: “High youth unemployment resuming from the socioeconomic circumstances within the area have led younger males to develop into oil thieves. The common annual revenue of an artlsanal refinery employee is N3million.

“Low-level oil thieves who steal in small jerrycans declare to solely partake within the exercise as a result of they should feed their households. They normaly ‘scoop’ from leaking pines.

“Increasing levels of unemployment are matched by increasing levels of criminal activity in the Niger Delta.”

Effects of crude oil theft

Aside authorities’s lack of income, different results of crude oil theft are straightforward to see. They embrace degradation of the setting, host communities’ lack of livelihoods, and destruction of life and property from pipeline explosions.

A 2019 United Nations report stated devastating oil spills within the Niger Delta over the previous 5 a long time will price $1billion to rectify and take as much as 30 years to scrub up.

Stopping crude oil theft

But stakeholders consider the issue is surmountable. NNF, for example, recognized a number of roles for the federal government, civil society and residents on this regard.

Recommendations for presidency: Develop agricultural and manufacturing sectors to soak up unemployed youth. Provide social facilities (electrical energy, roads, hospitals, faculties, water). Arrest and prosecute crude oil thieves, their sponsors and collaborators.

Recommendations for residents: Sensitise youth to place collective curiosity above private positive aspects and crime. Participate in governance and maintain authorities accountable. Advocate to authorities to assist native refineries and set up modular refineries to satisfy native wants.

Recommendations for civil society: Hold pipeline surveillance contractors accountable for oil theft. Advocate for transparency and open information to the general public from NNPC. Inform residents in regards to the dangerous results of crude oil theft on their communities and setting.

Recommendations for oil firms: Improve inner content material coverage and make sure that most communities profit from contracts and jobs

It additionally instructed that there ought to deployment of know-how designed to swiftly detect, localise and minimize off flows to particular pipelines as quickly as leakages happen.

The group famous that crude oil theft is a multi-billion greenback enterprise with a variety of gamers at numerous ranges and there may be thus the necessity for collaboration amongst authorities businesses to stop crude oil theft.

The group additionally lamented that inappropriate disposal of confiscated petroleum merchandise by the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps compounds the environmental affect related to crude oil theft.

It known as for higher coaching, equipping and financing of the NSCDC operations to allow them deal with such disposal.

NNF famous additional that the event of modular refineries and different applied sciences may assist in assembly native market calls for, eliminating unlawful processing of crude oil and the attendant environmental injury.


  1. Nigeria is the sixth largest oil producer on the earth and largest in Africa.
  2. Oil is the mainstay of presidency’s income; it makes up about 90 per cent of exports and 70 per cent of overseas trade receipts.
  3. 77 per cent of the 2018 nationwide price range was derived from oil income. This implies that income from oil determines funding for growth initiatives.
  4. Annual loss to crude oil theft is estimated at N995 Billion. (Oil Theft in Nigeria: A Report of the Nigeria Natural Resource Charter, 2018: Page 6)
  5. Nigeria misplaced 17,460,113 (web) barrels in 2018 to theft/sabotage. (DPR, 2019: Crude Oil Losses as a consequence of Theft/Sabotage (Net Barrels). About 25% of stolen crude is offered regionally to artisanal refiners who “cook” the crude to supply petrol (2%); kerosene (2%) and diesel (41%). The remaining 55% is dumped into close by water or shallow pits, leading to environmental and well being hazards.
  6. The affect of crude oil theft is gigantic, translating to extreme income shortages for the Federal Government; environmental degradation; lack of livelihoods; well being challenges; lack of lives as a consequence of explosions at unlawful refining websites; pupils drop out of faculty so as to be part of the profitable oil theft enterprise; proliferation of arms, violence, and so on.
  7. Efforts by totally different stakeholders to handle crude oil theft together with navy interventions (JTF), pipeline surveillance, and so on. haven’t yielded any constructive end result.
  8. Crude oil theft is a multi-million-dollar enterprise with a worth chain that features criminals, establishments, safety personnel, communities, and so on. As a end result, it doesn’t reply to at least one line of resolution.
  9. Crude oil theft inhibits entry to fundamental infrastructure. The mixed capital expenditure of N831billion on well being, training, transport infrastructure, energy, works and housing in 2017 is 15 p.c decrease than the estimated common yearly loss to crude oil theft. (NNF, 2020: infographics on Crude Oil Theft).
  10. Solutions have to be multifaceted and built-in institutional mandate, regulatory capability, enchancment of artisanal refinery know-how group participation, joint framing by states, and so on.

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