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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

9/23/2013 (6 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

New report shows that Nigerian oil theft has global implications

With the world still largely dependent on oil to run its engines, the rampant oil theft in the African nation of Nigeria is a major concern. A recent Chatham House report says that 100,000 barrels of oil are stolen daily from the Niger Delta. That's about five percent of the two million plus barrel per day output. Some analysts put the total amount of stolen oil much higher, at 400,000 barrels a day.

Militants in the Niger Delta battled the government and oil companies up until 2009, saying they were fighting for the people's right to the oil on their land. Since then, the region has quieted, but oil theft and kidnapping are still rampant.

Militants in the Niger Delta battled the government and oil companies up until 2009, saying they were fighting for the people's right to the oil on their land. Since then, the region has quieted, but oil theft and kidnapping are still rampant.

Article Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

9/23/2013 (6 months ago)

Published in Africa

Keywords: Nigeria, oil theft, Niger Delta, politicians, Boko Haram


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Stolen crude oil flows out of the Niger Delta at alarming rates, landing in markets in Nigeria and around the world. However, the new study by Chatham House says it is not just the Nigerian authorities that are to blame. Military and government officials, militants, oil executives, crime rings and communities all profit from oil theft, the report found.
 
Oil theft in Nigeria impacts economies around the world as major thieves launder money in foreign countries and stolen oil disrupts markets. 
 
The report suggests legal means, like lawsuits and tracking regulation in order to slow the flow of stolen oil. The report also warns many possible actions the international community could take, such as sanctions or regulating oil sales - might actually worsen the situation.

Council on Foreign Relations Senior Fellow John Campbell, a former U.S. ambassador to Nigeria, says international intervention is highly unlikely.
 
"It is unrealistic because for the international community to be involved to a greater degree in countering oil theft that's going to require a very close partnership with the Nigerian government. That is going to require a substantial political will on the part of the Nigerian government," Campbell says. The Nigerian government has other things to do and the military is "stretched thin."
 
"The Nigerian government right now is consumed with a jihadist revolt in the north called Boko Haram. It also worries about ongoing ethnic and religious conflict in the Middle Belt. You end up with questions about capacity," Campbell says.

"The heart of the matter is oil theft is deeply engrained now in the fabric of the Niger Delta and I would suggest [in] Nigerian life generally."

Campbell says that Nigerian politicians are also focused on the 2015 elections. Any disruption in the flow of oil money, both illegal and legal, would impact campaigns, making it an issue many people do not want to touch.

Militants in the Niger Delta battled the government and oil companies up until 2009, saying they were fighting for the people's right to the oil on their land. Since then, the region has quieted, but oil theft and kidnapping are still rampant.

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