The Nigerian Navy has confirmed that the nation is losing the sum of $20 billion annually to crude oil theft.
Austen Oyagha, director, Nigerian Navy Transformation Office, who disclosed this recently in Calabar, Cross River State, said the country lost an estimated average of 55,210 barrels per day or monthly average of 1,656,281 barrels in 2013.
“Thus, Nigeria oil losses due to crude oil theft translate to almost $20 billion yearly in deficit to Nigeria’s economy. These losses do not only undermine Nigeria’s economy in terms of foreign exchange deficit, they also pose a threat to national security for Nigerians,” Oyagha said at the just concluded Navy Week while speaking on the theme ‘Harnessing Surveillance Technology in Support of Anti-Crude Oil Theft Operations in Nigeria.
He said the Nigerian Navy, in collaboration with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the media, had found out that crude oil losses in Nigeria were primarily due to pipeline vandalism and operation of illegal refineries, adding that the Navy was looking at ways of harnessing surveillance technology towards enhancing Nigerian Navy anti-crude oil theft operations.
He therefore advocated an integrated surveillance system for anti-crude oil theft operations with features to detect, monitor, track and display activities in all weathers.
Maritime Security News Note:
It will be interesting to see how many contrary reports are now issued by other sources in Nigeria to rebut this story. If $20 billion is the ‘official’ estimate, then what is the actual figure? Small wonder that piracy and oil theft proves so hard to eliminate in the Gulf of Guinea. With so much money at stake, don’t expect to see it conquered any time soon.
The suggestion for an integrated surveillance system is good, but information sharing, honesty about the actual situation on the water and robust oil theft, piracy and corruption laws are required before change can be affected.