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Nigerian key Oil Pipeline hits by vandals, stealing bulk of product, Union Says

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Nigeria is losing nearly all of its oil output pumped through a major pipeline, just one example of an increase in theft that’s accompanied a surge in crude prices, according to a labor union.

Producers received as little as 5 percent of crude volumes pumped through the Trans Niger Pipeline between October 2021 and February 2022, with the fuel being illegally tapped in about 150 places, according to the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN). Vandalism was also a major contributor to the losses, the union said.

The losses are having an adverse impact on government revenue and foreign-exchange reserves, Central Bank Governor Godwin Emefiele said in a briefing on March 21. Africa’s largest crude producer has struggled to meet its OPEC+ quota despite rising oil prices following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.  

READ ALSO: President Buhari asks APC leaders to focus on winning, avoid squabbling  

“How can we be losing over 95 percent of oil production to thieves?” Tony Elumelu, a Nigerian billionaire who owns investment firm Heirs Holdings, said on Twitter last week.

“It is clear that the reason Nigeria is unable to meet its OPEC production quota is not because of low investment but because of theft, pure and simple!” 

The government is intent on tackling oil-related crime, Nigeria’s minister of state for petroleum resources, Timipre Sylva said on Wednesday while visiting sites where the stolen crude is processed. 

“We are determined to stop it, because we know that we can ill-afford the continuation of this insecurity in the oil industry,” Sylva said, according to the remarks posted on Twitter by the state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Company Ltd. ~Bloomberg


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