Nigeria's Oil Thieves Roar Back

Nigeria's Oil Thieves Roar Back
Just as Nigeria gets to grips with militants who brought the nation's oil industry to its knees a few years ago, another group of longstanding foes are slowly making a comeback.

The rogue refineries, essentially scaled up versions of widespread gin distilleries in the region, typically employ about 100 people working in shifts. Yields from a single cauldron will include 7,500 liters of diesel, 2,000 liters of gasoline and 500 liters of kerosene a day. It costs about 4 million naira ($11,100) to construct a boiling pot.

Crude Operators

Oil producers often take their own security measures, deploying daily helicopter surveillance with infrared cameras while simultaneously pushing state authorities to do more. But large-scale theft persists.

Addressing the challenge requires a “holistic approach,” Nigeria’s Oil Minister Emmanuel Kachikwu said after attending a cabinet meeting in Abuja last month.

“Oil theft is rife because there is an economic gain to be made from it,” Kachikwu said. “So we want to shut those illegal gains by creating positive and legal economic opportunities.”

--With assistance from Dulue Mbachu and Helen Robertson.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Elisha Bala-Gbogbo in Abuja at

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Alaric Nightingale at;
Anthony Osae-Brown at
Alaric Nightingale, Rachel Graham


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Adewale Atewogbade  |  June 06, 2019
These thieves are probably supported by some kingpins who may also be responsible for misdirecting the Navy to arrest people like the Swiss ship whose owners are suing the govt. A lose lose situation