Nigeria has lost crude oil worth over N2.453 trillion to theft within two years and four months, computation by Daily Trust on Sunday of data from petroleum industry reports has shown. The situation has been described by stakeholders as a national emergency that needs stringent actions.
Nigeria lost N15.71 billion worth of crude oil in 2020, N1.67trn in 2021, and just from January to April 2022, the country has lost N623bn worth of crude, totaling N2.453trn in 28 months.
The 2020 Petroleum Industry Report released by the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), indicates that at least a 39.16 million barrels (mmbls) of crude, valued at N15.71bn as at then, was stolen, with an average loss of 107,293 barrels per day (bpd).
More so, data from the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited obtained in April shows that in terms of the financial loss to the country, in 2021, the total volume of crude oil stolen was 200,000bpd, amounting to 73m barrels of crude for the year. At an average price of $55 per barrel, the total loss for the year was worth $4.015bn or N1.67trn.
The NNPC data further showed that between January and April of this year, the volume of crude stolen had risen to about 250,000bpd, and at $100 a barrel oil price, the NNPC data estimated the loss at N623bn.
How theft denies Nigeria gains of higher oil price
Nigeria as an oil-producing country ought to be enjoying a windfall now with the sudden rise in the price of crude oil in the international market due to the Russia-Ukraine situation. Before the Russia-Ukraine crisis, crude was selling between $96 and $97 per barrel.
It shot up to $105 per barrel the following day after the conflict began. It has since then been hovering between $110 and $125 per barrel.
Also, crude theft, according to reports, has further cut down the ability of Nigeria to meet the quota given to the country by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). Recently, OPEC raised Nigeria’s production quota from April’s 1.735 million barrels per day to 1.753 million barrels per day for May 2022.
However, industry reports show that Nigeria’s daily production has been around 1.417m barrels per day since February due to crude theft, vandalism, and other acts of sabotage. This was also corroborated by the OPEC Oil Market Report for March 2022.
The latest industry data indicate that crude oil production has dropped to an all-time low of 1.29million barrels per day (without condensate). The addition of condensate brings Nigeria’s current production to 1.49mbpd.
Before the oil theft worsened, the average production in 2020 was at 1.77mbpd, even at a time when the world suffered from COVID-19 and an oil price glut. At a time, the price of crude oil crashed to sub-zero levels with an unprecedented demand dip.