Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Nigeria Oil Pipeline Theft

WSJ headline, "Theft Threatens to Shut Nigeria Oil Pipeline":
Nigeria's oil industry is at a crisis point because the theft of oil from pipelines and the pollution it causes are reaching intolerable levels, costing the country and oil companies billions of dollars a year . . .

Oil theft is a long-standing issue in Nigeria, frequently leading to supply disruptions and environmental pollution when thieves drill into pipelines in order to siphon off the crude. The Nigerian government has repeatedly pledged to act aggressively to curb insecurity in the oil sector and has said that incidents of oil theft have decreased in the past year. However, Shell said the situation got worse last month.
Of course, even product at sea has not been safe, since pirates have been active in hijacking tankers and stealing their cargo as reported by the ONI here:
IVORY COAST: On 03 February the oil tanker GASCOGNE was hijacked in the vicinity of 04:07 N 003:54 W, approximately 70 nm south of Abidjan port. Twelve heavily armed pirates with guns boarded and hijacked the tanker underway. They sailed the tanker to Nigeria and stole the oil cargo and crew/ vessel valuables. On 05 February the tanker and her 17 crew members were released and proceeded to a safe port. Two crew members were injured during the incident. (IMB, IMO, TW)
UPDATE: I have just seen Martin N. Murphy's excellent article covering this topic in the latest issue of USNI Proceedings at "Africa's Leaking Wound":
Like blood from a leaking wound, the piracy that is spreading westward from Nigeria has now reached the Ivory Coast, 400 miles from its origins on the inland and coastal waters of the Niger Delta. There, and on the waters more than 100 miles off these countries’ coasts, acts of depredation against ships and fixed oil installations have resulted in far greater financial losses and had a far wider economic impact that any piracy seen so far anywhere else in the world.
Read it all.

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