Nigerian Navy Impounds 13,000 Barrels of Stolen Crude

By MarEx 2014-01-13 13:30:00

Nigeria's navy said on Monday it had impounded around 2.l million liters (13,000 barrels) of stolen crude oil in two operations against ships belonging to oil thieves.

On Monday a Nigerian navy ship stopped a boat carrying stolen crude near the Chevron-owned Agbami offshore oil field, just away from the creeks of the Niger Delta - although the oil was not from that field, as oil thieves always target onshore pipelines.

It was found to have 1.4 million liters of crude on it and twelve crew who were all arrested, the statement from central naval commander officer Rear Admiral S.H. Usman said.

Another operation on December 26 in the swamps of Bayelsa state recovered 870,000 liters of stolen crude and arrested nine crew members.

Oil theft by armed gangs is rampant in Africa's top producer, with estimates ranging from 100,000 barrels to 250,000 barrels a day lost to so-called "bunkerers".

Loss of output from theft and outages caused by sabotaging pipelines has cost the treasury - which relies on oil for about 80 percent of revenues - billions of dollars.

The navy statement attributed the successful operations to better surveillance installed last month, including automated, camera-equipped towers.

But analysts say the extent of oil bunkering in Nigeria is only possible because of widespread collusion by security forces. 

Copyright Reuters 2014.