Nigeria losing 17 percent of oil to theft

Despite recent efforts to address the issue, Nigeria continues to lose a dramatic proportion of its oil production to theft, one government minister has asserted.

Reuters reports that Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala told reports that the country's state oil company, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, lost 17 percent of its oil production last month.

So-called "oil bunkering," when thieves tap into an oil pipeline and either sell the oil or produce crudely-refined petroleum products, was once a crippling problem for the country's oil industry, but was dramatically reduced with a 2009 amnesty declaration.

Still, Royal Dutch shell reports losing as much as 7.5 percent of its daily oil production, and never less than 2 percent.

However, Reuters reports that Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan is unlikely to take action, because many of the people managing the country's oil industry are close political allies.

"In the past pressure for change has usually prompted the casting aside of a scapegoat," Antony Goldman, head of PM Consulting, told Reuters. "Too many people in the ruling elite do not want an end to corruption, they just want their turn. From an external perspective, failure to act may indeed look like weakness; the domestic environment is more complex."

PennEnergy's Research area offers oil production outlooks for Nigeria.

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