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Nigerian Military Destroys 36 Illegal Refining Sites In Niger Delta

Nigerian military forces have destroyed 36 illegal refining sites and arrested 22 suspected oil thieves in the Niger Delta in the country’s latest crackdowns on illegal oil trade, with a Defense Headquarters spokesperson telling local media that the operation recovered 310,700 liters of crude oil; 14,675 liters of Automotive Gas Oil, 49,000 liters of Dual Purpose kerosene and assorted weapons.

“Troops on July 24, intercepted and destroyed one wooden boat loaded with 1000 litres of product suspected to be stolen crude oil at Wellhead Cluster Opukushi Community in Ekeremor Local Government Area of Bayelsa State,” the spokesperson told the Guardian of Nigeria

Last year, Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCGROUP) CEO Melee Kyari revealed that Nigeria was losing nearly all the oil output at oil hub Bonny, the town after which its premium oil grade Bonny Light is named. 

Bonny Light is a light-sweet crude oil grade produced in Nigeria, and an important benchmark crude for all West African crude production. Bonny Light has particularly good gasoline yields, which has made it a popular crude for U.S. refiners, particularly on the U.S. East Coast. Although the figures are usually estimates, the NNPCL and the ministry of petroleum have variously put the total quantity of barrels stolen at between 200,000 to 400,000 per day. 

Nigeria managed to produce 1.184 million bpd in May, making it Africa’s largest producer ahead of Libya (1.158 million bpd), Angola (1.111 million bpd) and Algeria ( 962,000 bpd).

However, rampant oil theft is not confined to the West African nation. Oil smuggling has become a particular problem in many developing nations, as armed groups siphon oil for resale. Oil smuggling costs Libya an estimated $750 million per year, good for 3% of its GDP. Mustafa Sanalla, the head of the country’s National Oil Corporation, has called on the European Union naval mission to help stop oil smuggling by seizing their ships in the Mediterranean and urged Libya to reform massive subsidies that allow fuel to be sold for as little as 2-3 U.S. cents per liter.

By Alex Kimani for Oilprice.com

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