Officials in Nigeria have discovered an illegal connecting line to one of its major offshore oil export terminals that had been operating unnoticed for nine years, the head of the country’s state oil company NNPC LTD said, Reuters reported.
The link, which is 4 kilometers long, from the Forcados export terminal, which normally exports about 250,000 barrels of oil per day, was discovered during anti-theft operations over the past six weeks, NNPC Executive Director Mele Kyari told a parliamentary commission. “Oil theft in the country has been going on for more than 22 years, but the scale and pace they have acquired recently is unprecedented,” he said, according to an audio recording seen by Reuters.
Thieves often target land-based pipelines to drain oil undetected while continuing to operate, but an illegal line in the ocean is highly unusual and suggests a more sophisticated theft operation.
SPDC, the operator of Forcados, which is a local subsidiary of Shell, did not respond to the news agency’s request for comment.
Nigeria, normally Africa’s biggest oil exporter, has lost potential revenue of about 600,000 barrels of oil a day, Kiari said. Nigeria’s crude oil exports fell below 1 million barrels per day in August for the first time since 1990.
Photo by Mathias Reding: