Nigeria has asked Britain for help to tackle a multi-million dollar oil theft business which is run by international crime syndicates, the Minister of Petroleum Resources; Diezani Alison-Madueke told an industry conference in Abuja on Tuesday.
According to the Minister, “the products from bunkering are not sold in (West Africa), neither are the financial outputs … laundered in West African banks, they are ending up in far flung international fiscal institutions.”
She further added that “Mr President has begun to reach out with his colleagues around the world. A discussion was held with the Prime Minister of Great Britain on Monday a week ago and they are all coming on board to help sort out this particular menace.”
Oil ‘bunkering’ — hacking into pipelines to steal crude then refining it or selling it abroad — is costing Nigeria a fifth of its two million barrels per day output, government and international oil companies say.
Anglo-Dutch oil major Royal Dutch Shell, the biggest foreign producer in Nigeria, has been lobbying the British government to help Nigeria to end bunkering, industry sources say.
Yet the participation of security officials and politicians who profit from the practice may limit the impact international governments can have on ending the illegal industry.