Solutions to Piracy and Oil Bunkering in Nigeria Waters
Since the discovery of crude oil at Oloibiri, Delta state Nigeria in 1956, Nigeria had become a major oil producing nation, and by 2012 was the largest oil producing nation in Africa and the sixth-largest in the world. Though Piracy And Oil Bunkering in Nigeria has been detrimental to her economy recently.
There are 18 big international oil companies in Nigeria. These include Shell, Mobil, Texaco, Total, and Chevron.
They account for about 90% of Nigeria’s crude oil production. These companies operate in partnership with the federal Nigeria National Petroleum Commission, which grants them concessions in exchange for a percentage of the product they extract.
Earlier, Nigeria was the top producer of oil in Africa but their production has declined. This is because oil theft accounts for about 10% of Nigeria’s daily production and is a highly organized and financed operation.
All this theft is a highly sophisticated operation because the thieves tap into pipelines away from oil company facilities and connect into large ships, often times the police and military are involved in this process or paid to turn a blind eye to these nefarious activities of pirates.
One way the oil can be stolen is by climbing oil wellheads and siphoning the fuel from them. It can also be stolen by forging contracts to lift surplus amounts of crude oil past what is approved by refining stations. Oil bunkering has been a problem in Nigeria for many years due to government failures to build both refineries and refine the fuel there.
The illicit trade of stolen oil is the most profitable private business in Nigeria, with militants and other economic saboteurs often funding their asymmetric war against the state through the sale of stolen crude.
The illegal activities of the marine police have been severely hindering Nigeria’s efforts at protecting the Nigerian coastline. This is because they are poorly equipped and are often corrupt. The corruption also extends to other sectors of the country such as the armed forces, who don’t receive enough attention as they provide a challenge in the North. As for NIMASA, it can’t efficiently patrol places like coastlines with long stretches of unprotected pipelines.
Nigerian crude oil production statistics 2016
In 2016, the country’s crude oil production dropped from 2.2 millions barrels per day to 1.4 million barrels per day
One possible cause of piracy in Nigeria is corruption and poverty. The poverty rate in Nigeria is at 87% and the unemployment rate is 65%. There are no regulations on the oil industry, which may be leading to higher fuel prices.
There has been a record number of oil thefts in Nigeria, and the country has ranked as very challenging when it comes to maritime security.
About 400,000 barrels of oil are being stolen each day, with most incidents occurring in Nigeria’s inland or territorial waters. However, recent reports suggest that gangs now even venture much further out to sea. The problem has grown enough that theft of oil off the Nigerian coast is no longer unusual and oil-producing countries such as Ghana have noticed a sharp increase in contraband activity on their territorial seas.
The rise of oil thefts and piracy off the Nigerian coast suggests that there is a thriving black market for crude oil.
The government subsidy encourages thieves to steal oil indirectly, since they know they’ll make a large profit by exporting the stolen refined petrol to nearby countries, where crude oil is more expensive. As long as this is happening, the problem will be a long-term one.
The reason the crime was committed
Imported oil is often financed by wealthy and politically connected elites. These people use unemployed and uneducated locals, who believe that they have been abandoned by the government, as an opportunity to make a buck for themselves.
In addition to the destruction of ecosystems and assault on the environment, there are many rural dwellers in Nigeria that depend on fishing or farming for their livelihood. Because oil spills and pipeline leaks have severely impacted these people, it is common for these individuals not to be able to go about their daily activities.
The effects of these activities
According to experts, the oil-stealing rates estimation is between 100,000-250,000 barrels each day and up to 91 million barrels yearly.
If a conflict involves oil, it is unlikely that any of the people involved in this act will invest any money back into further oil exploration. Instead, after settling all sides involved in the crime, the bulk of the money is diverted elsewhere outside the country, depriving Nigeria of revenue.
Nigeria has been experiencing an increase in the number of oil thefts, which have sparked an economic crisis for international oil companies operating in the country.
International oil companies are experiencing heavy losses as a result of these thefts, and the surge in oil thefts has greatly reduced their earnings. Money that could have gone towards exploring other areas of the oil industry is being diverted to repairing pipelines and cleaning up any spills.
Failure to address the worsening security situation could also be a national security threat. Too many rebel and militant groups have access to illegal arms and ammunition, causing hijackings, abductions, and riots.
Fuel theft has many negative consequences, including oil spills. These can cause environmental degradation and pollution, as well as threatening wildlife conservation.
The negative impact of the Niger Delta oil spill and the rise of criminal activities in these regions of Nigeria may cause massive displacement and migration. These people will either move to safer regions in Nigeria or to nearby countries. There are many potential impacts on the maritime sector.
Nevertheless, foreign shipping companies who operate in Nigerian waters have left the country. These companies also leave many Nigerian seafarers unemployed, which means there could be more crime in Nigeria.
The government of Nigeria
Nigerian authorities are putting more effort into resolving the issue, with the recent deployment of additional security personnel, equipment, and other measures. However, it would also be good to do a double check that these efforts are succeeding as well.
It is important for businesses to provide a good salary and welfare for the security agencies in order to increase the motivation for them to stop looking outside for more money. The law should be for everyone and not be limited to a few individuals on top government positions. Hopefully, these efforts will be enough to crack down on corruption and bring back calmness, economic growth, and employment of the youths.