Officials of the NNPC Ltd, The state oil company of Nigeria, have discovered a 4-kilometre-long illegal connection from one of its major export terminals into the sea. The illegal connection was operational for nine years.
According to NNPC Chief Executive Mele Kyari, the illegal connection originated from the Forcados export terminal. This terminal exports around 250,000 barrels per day (BPD) of oil.
After remaining undetected for over nine years, The officials of NNPC found the illegal connection during the last six weeks while the authorities were exercising a clampdown on oil theft.
This information was shared by the head of NNPC Ltd, with a parliamentary committee, on Tuesday, 4 October 2022.
In the past, people have committed this crime, often by tapping land-based pipelines. These land-based pipelines allow them to siphon the oil undetected.
However, since the officials of the Nigeria Oil Company have discovered the illegal line in the sea, it is considered highly unusual. Such a discovery points to a more sophisticated operation of oil theft.
According to Kyari, Oil theft in the country has been ongoing for more than two decades, but the dimension and rate it has assumed in recent years is unprecedented. He spoke these words in an audio recording of the parliamentary committee briefing.
Nigeria has remained at the top position, having the largest share of Africa’s oil export, for a long time. Now, however, the nation is losing out on potential revenue.
So far, the country has lost revenue from around 600,000 BPD of oil. Crude exports fell below 1 million BPD in August for the first time since the final decade of the 20th century, 1990.
This sharp decline is keeping Nigeria from making some much-needed money from their exports
According to Kyari, some of this oil is stolen by theives, while in other cases, the oil companies choose to idle some fields rather than feeding lines which thieves tap.