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Crude Oil Theft In Nigeria Is An Organized Crime

Crude Oil Theft In Nigeria Is An Organized Crime

There is no discussing the fact that crude oil theft in Nigeria has been going on for a long time, without any strict measures put in place by the government to curb the dastardly act carried out by some unscrupulous people.

A report released last month reveals that between January 2021 and February 2022, Nigeria lost $3.2bn to crude oil theft which is crippling the economy. The CEO of Chevron Nigeria Richard Kennedy, recently disclosed that crude oil theft in Nigeria is an organized crime and should be differentiated completely from host community issues.

He made this remark when he was asked to comment on the host community provision of the petroleum industry act. He further emphasized the need not to confuse the agitations of host communities of oil-producing areas with the spate of crude oil theft being carried out in the area.

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In his words, “From my experience, the issue with crude oil theft should not be confused with host community issues. It is much bigger than that. It is completely different from host community issues. Quite frankly it is an organized crime. The volume of crude oil that is being stolen is well beyond comprehension”.

It is disheartening to note that the high level of crude oil theft in Nigeria, is costing the nation millions of dollars daily, which is lost in revenue that could have been used to help solve the nation’s fiscal challenges.

It has been disclosed that the nation loses about 100,000 barrels per day at $100 per barrel, which is equivalent to $10 million per day that is being stolen. Nigeria has been experiencing this menace for a long time with millions of dollars lost daily.

There have been several agitations made by individuals, companies and communities to the government on the need to secure the pipelines, to secure it from constant vandalism, yet to no avail. This crude oil theft has made the country unable to meet its OPEC production quota of 1.8 million barrels per day, yet the government seems unperturbed by these declining impacts.

Earlier I published an article where the Nigeria security and civil service defense corps, NSCDC, disclosed that some high-profile individuals are behind the crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism in Nigeria.

It is appalling to discover that some high-profile individuals continue to sabotage the growth of the Nation’s economy with constant crude oil theft. It is painful that one major national resource (crude oil) that the nation capitalizes on, is being vandalized with reckless abandon.

Nigeria as an oil-producing state ought to be enjoying the dividends of crude oil due to the rise in price in the international market, due to the Russian-Ukraine war, yet the oil theft in the country has sabotaged that.

Previous and past administrations seem to lack the political will to put this incessant oil theft to a halt. The recent disclosure by the CEO of Chevron stating that oil theft in Nigeria is an organized crime further validates the fact that some high-profile individuals are behind it.

Crude oil theft is not something that is done by a single person, but rather by some group of people. No ordinary person can muster the courage to carry out such an act, rather it is done by high-profile individuals who have the backing of some political leaders and security personnel.

As vandals continue to destroy pipelines, the nation’s account continues to bleed. To combat crude oil theft in Nigeria, all hands must be on deck. The government should collaborate with security agencies, host companies, and oil companies operating in the area with the deployment of the right technologies to curtail the act.

Some stakeholders have also suggested that there should be the installation of LACT units, installation of check meters with flow rate and pressure measures capabilities, and competent entities for pipeline surveillance.

There is also the need for these high profile individuals behind this menace of oil theft and pipe vandalism, to be publicly punished by the government, to serve as a deterrent to all those involved. If the government lacks the will to do that, then it is unfortunate that the illegal act of oil theft will not be put to a halt.

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