Singapore Uncovers Large Oil Heist At Shell's Biggest Refinery



Singapore Uncovers Large Oil Heist At Shell's Biggest Refinery
11 men were charged in a Singapore court on Tuesday in connection with a large-scale oil theft at Shell's biggest refinery.

Oil Trading Hub

Singapore is one of the world's most important oil trading hubs, with much of the Middle East's crude oil passing through Singapore before being delivered to the huge consumers in China, Japan and South Korea.

Singapore is also Southeast Asia's main refinery hub and the world's biggest marine refuelling stop.

Shell is one of the biggest and longest established foreign investors in Singapore. Its oil refinery on Bukom island can process 500,000 barrels per day.

Illicit oil trading is widespread in Southeast Asia. In some cases, oil has been illegally siphoned from storage tanks, but there have also been thefts at sea, including whole ships being seized for the oil cargo.

The Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) says that siphoning of fuel and oil at sea in Asia, including through armed robbery and piracy, saw sharp increases between 2011 and 2015.

There has been a modest decline since then, although the organisation said in a quarterly report that oil theft was still "of concern," especially in the South China Sea, off the east coast of Malaysia.

The stolen fuel is generally sold across Southeast Asia, offloaded directly into trucks or tanks at small harbours away from oil terminals.

($1 = 1.3322 Singapore dollars)

(Reporting by John Geddie and Henning Gloystein; Additional reporting by Florence Tan and Fathin Ungku; Editing by Gerry Doyle)


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