Nigeria loses a fifth of its daily oil production of two million barrels to theft. International crime syndicates run huge operations which employ oil bunkering techniques where they hack into oil pipelines to steal the crude and then refine it or sell it abroad in its pure form.
The problem is becoming serious, and offers a major obstacle to Nigeria’s economic development, and the general technological and infrastructural development of that whole region of Africa. Royal Dutch Shell, the largest foreign producer of crude oil in Nigeria has been lobbying for the British government to help end the oil theft in Nigeria for a while, and desperate to try and put an end to the crimes Nigeria’s oil minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, admitted that the government has now also petitioned aid from Britain.
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Diezani explained that, “the products from bunkering are not sold in (West Africa), neither are the financial outputs ... laundered in West African banks, they are ending up in far flung international fiscal institutions.
Nigerian president (Goodluck Jonathan) has begun to reach out with his colleagues around the world. A discussion was held with the prime minister of Great Britain on Monday a week ago and they are all coming on board to help sort out this particular menace.”
Any attempts made by foreign governments to try and bring an end to the oil bunkering will likely be long, drawn out affairs as support from many Nigerian security officials and politicians who actually profit from the crimes is unlikely.
By. James Burgess of Oilprice.com
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