Nigeria: Tackling oil theft needs an international approach, experts say

By David Whitehouse
Posted on Thursday, 12 January 2023 09:08

In this photo taken Saturday, May 18, 2013, an abandoned illegal refinery is seen at the creeks of Bayelsa, Nigeria. Oil thefts, long a problem in the Niger Delta, are growing at an ever-faster rate despite government officials and international companies offering increasingly dire warnings about the effect on Nigeria's crude production. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

Nigeria failed to take full advantage of higher oil prices in 2022 because of its inability to rapidly expand production, and the persistent problem of the theft of part of what was produced.

The scale of the losses involved is daunting. Folake Shakirah Lawal, principal energy analyst at Pan Allen Energy in Abuja, cites a study by a Nigerian senate committee, which estimates that N1.3trn ($2.9bn) was lost from oil theft in the first eight months of 2022. That’s more than the total allocation to health in the proposed 2023 budget.