• 1 min UK Offers North Sea Oil Producers Tax Relief To Boost Investment
  • 2 hours Iraq Wants To Build Gas Pipeline To Kuwait In Blow To Shell
  • 4 hours Trader Trafigura Raises Share Of Oil Purchases From State Firms
  • 6 hours German Energy Group Uniper Rejects $9B Finnish Takeover Bid
  • 7 hours Total Could Lose Big If It Pulls Out Of South Pars Deal
  • 9 hours Dakota Watchdog Warns It Could Revoke Keystone XL Approval
  • 1 day Oil Prices Rise After API Reports Major Crude Draw
  • 1 day Citgo President And 5 VPs Arrested On Embezzlement Charges
  • 1 day Gazprom Speaks Out Against OPEC Production Cut Extension
  • 1 day Statoil Looks To Lighter Oil To Boost Profitability
  • 1 day Oil Billionaire Becomes Wind Energy’s Top Influencer
  • 1 day Transneft Warns Urals Oil Quality Reaching Critical Levels
  • 1 day Whitefish Energy Suspends Work In Puerto Rico
  • 1 day U.S. Authorities Arrest Two On Major Energy Corruption Scheme
  • 2 days Thanksgiving Gas Prices At 3-Year High
  • 2 days Iraq’s Giant Majnoon Oilfield Attracts Attention Of Supermajors
  • 2 days South Iraq Oil Exports Close To Record High To Offset Kirkuk Drop
  • 2 days Iraqi Forces Find Mass Graves In Oil Wells Near Kirkuk
  • 2 days Chevron Joint Venture Signs $1.7B Oil, Gas Deal In Nigeria
  • 2 days Iraq Steps In To Offset Falling Venezuela Oil Production
  • 2 days ConocoPhillips Sets Price Ceiling For New Projects
  • 5 days Shell Oil Trading Head Steps Down After 29 Years
  • 5 days Higher Oil Prices Reduce North American Oil Bankruptcies
  • 5 days Statoil To Boost Exploration Drilling Offshore Norway In 2018
  • 5 days $1.6 Billion Canadian-US Hydropower Project Approved
  • 5 days Venezuela Officially In Default
  • 5 days Iran Prepares To Export LNG To Boost Trade Relations
  • 5 days Keystone Pipeline Leaks 5,000 Barrels Into Farmland
  • 6 days Saudi Oil Minister: Markets Will Not Rebalance By March
  • 6 days Obscure Dutch Firm Wins Venezuelan Oil Block As Debt Tensions Mount
  • 6 days Rosneft Announces Completion Of World’s Longest Well
  • 6 days Ecuador Won’t Ask Exemption From OPEC Oil Production Cuts
  • 6 days Norway’s $1 Trillion Wealth Fund Proposes To Ditch Oil Stocks
  • 6 days Ecuador Seeks To Clear Schlumberger Debt By End-November
  • 6 days Santos Admits It Rejected $7.2B Takeover Bid
  • 7 days U.S. Senate Panel Votes To Open Alaskan Refuge To Drilling
  • 7 days Africa’s Richest Woman Fired From Sonangol
  • 7 days Oil And Gas M&A Deal Appetite Highest Since 2013
  • 7 days Russian Hackers Target British Energy Industry
  • 7 days Venezuela Signs $3.15B Debt Restructuring Deal With Russia
Alt Text

New Battery Design Could Crush Tesla

Elon Musk’s old rival, Henrik…

Alt Text

EVs Won’t Stifle Oil Demand Anytime Soon

There will be 280 million…

Alt Text

Who's Next? Venezuela's Collapse Puts These Nations At Risk

While investors have been ignoring…

These Are The 5 Countries Most Plagued by Oil Theft

These Are The 5 Countries Most Plagued by Oil Theft

Nigeria

As much as 400,000 barrels of oil a day are stolen in Nigeria. This equates to losses of $1.7 billion a month for Africa’s new largest economy. This represents 7.7 percent of its GDP vanishing, or more than the country spends on education and healthcare. These numbers paint a harsh picture about the inability of the Nigerian government, and the multinational oil companies in the Niger Delta, to do anything about this rampant theft.

Shell executives have railed against the futility of trying to remove illegal taps from the hundreds of miles of pipelines they have in Nigeria. Philip Mshelbila, Shell’s head of communications in Nigeria, pointed to a sophisticated organization of people that have been working for years to steal oil from official pipelines. The company is now divesting its portfolio of assets in Nigeria. (Given this striking news, it seems odd that Nigerian oil producer Seplat says it sees no theft in its operations whatsoever.)

With oil theft hitting record levels in 2013, the G8 has been reminded of its 2000 pledge to help Nigeria solve this crippling problem. However, as the Global Financial Initiative points out, “stolen Nigerian crude oil is transported on internationally registered vessels, sold to international buyers, processed by international oil refineries and paid for using international bank accounts.” With one group of thieves admitting to profits of nearly $7,000 a day from their illicit activities, it will take some doing to stop them.

Mexico

In the notoriously secretive government of President Enrique Peña Nieto, it is rare to see a senior official publicly admit that a particular crime is up. Last summer, Carlos Morales, the then head of Pemex’s Exploration and Production subsidiary admitted that fuel theft was growing 30 percent annually in Mexico, for a total theft of 5,000 to 10,000 barrels per day. Given that authorities found 2,614 illegal taps in 2013, including close to 600 in November and December alone – compared to around 1,500 in 2012 -- Morales might have underestimated the situation.

The staggering 1,548 percent jump in these illicit siphons from 2000 to 2013 has been attributed to powerful drug cartels like the Zetas realizing the potential of the black gold being pumped through territory they control. Fleets of tankers are now being stolen as they rumble across states like Tamaulipas, where Mexican press report the Zetas and the Gulf Cartel have distribution operations that rival those of Pemex itself

Iraq

Even if we set aside the attractive claim that the U.S. invasion of Iraq was the biggest oil heist of all time, Baghdad has a problem on its hands. Oil smuggling was institutionalized in the days of Saddam Hussein; one U.S. Senate estimate is that the Baath regime pocketed $21.3 billion from the UN Food For Oil program.

Today, it is difficult to estimate just how much oil is being smuggled out of Iraq, as the country’s metering system is behind by a number of years.

However, there have been substantiated reports of complex networks taking thousands of barrels right from the refineries and selling them illegally to Iran and Syria. In the chaos left over by the Iraq War, smugglers and terrorist elements have swooped in.

Related Article: Shell’s Troubles in Nigeria Continue

Russia

Vladimir Putin is an ambitious man. He is seeking to secure Russia’s energy future through landmark deals with China and Central Asia. To meet the export requirements of those deals, he has ordered Russia’s oil producers to reach an annual production of 535 million tons of oil by 2020. For that to happen, he will have to better secure Transneft’s pipeline network of over 50,000 kilometers.

This past April, Transneft threatened to shut down the oil supply to Ukraine, saying that oil worth $63 million dollars had been stolen from its PrikarpatZapadtrans pipeline system heading to the beleaguered country. However, Transneft has been facing more serious threats from organized crime in fractious regions like Dagestan where 27,000 tons of oil was stolen in 2009.

Indonesia

The state of oil smuggling in Indonesia might seem insignificant when compared to Nigeria, at just 2,000-3,000 barrels per day. However, the government seems to have only awoken to the issue after a South Sumatra pipeline explosion in October 2012 killed at least eight people, and injured dozens. The explosion was caused by one of the hundreds of taps that proliferate in the district of Bayung Lencir alone.

Since then, Jakarta says it has cracked down but oil firms remain unimpressed. National oil giant PT Pertamina shut down one of its main pipelines, Tempino-Plaju, in July 2013. It reported losses of 17,500 barrels of oil within the first week of the pipeline’s exploration.

Chevron has also had to take matters into its own hands, running off teams of thieves in Jambi Province. The South Sumatra chief for Indonesia’s Special Task Force for Upstream Oil and Gas Business Activities has lambasted the government, saying that its inaction has allowed oil thieves to act with more confidence.

By Chris Dalby for OilPrice.com




Back to homepage


Leave a comment

Leave a comment




Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News