• Nigeria lost 22 million barrels of oil in six months, worth $1.35 billion.
  • Niger Pipeline, which feeds the Afam VI electricity power station in Rivers state

ABUJA: Nigeria lost 22 million barrels of oil in six months, worth $1.35 billion due to theft and vandalism of pipelines, officials said Thursday.

The alarming news was delivered by the National Economic Council during a meeting in the presidential offices in Abuja.

“22.6 million barrels of crude oil, with a value of around $1.35 billion has been lost" from January to June this year, Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki said after the meeting, adding that if the problem isn't solved those losses will multiply.

The figures were provided by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

The biggest lost, 9.2 million barrels, was registered at the Nembe Creek Trunk pipeline which runs from an oil terminal in Bonny to the state of Bayelsa with capacity of 150,000 barrels per day

The Trans Niger Pipeline, which feeds the Afam VI electricity power station in Rivers state, lost 8.6 million barrels over the six-month period.

With the equivalent of 70 billion barrels of petrol and natural gas in reserve and production of two million barrels per day, Nigeria is the biggest producer of crude on the African continent.

Decades of production have enriched government officials and generated enormous profits for major foreign companies. But most ordinary Nigerians continue to live in poverty, particularly those living in the the oil and gas-rich Niger delta.

This region is plagued by oil-related pollution. Tens of thousands of people make an illegal living by stealing oil from the pipelines. Illegal refineries have popped up in swamp and forest areas and there is a thriving black gold market.