Nigeria lost $10.9 billion to oil theft in two years: audit

ABUJA Tue Jul 30, 2013 5:57am EDT

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ABUJA (Reuters) - Nigeria lost out on $10.9 billion in potential oil revenues due to oil theft between 2009-2011, the chairman of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) said on Tuesday.

"Over 136 million barrels estimated at $10.9 billion was lost to crude oil theft and sabotage," Ledum Mitee said in an emailed statement, after NEITI published an audit of the Nigerian oil and gas sector this week.

NEITI is a government agency that operates as part of a global EITI scheme aimed at improving transparency among commodity producing countries.

Oil theft in Nigeria is often associated with criminal gangs who tap crude from pipelines for local refining but the majority of stolen crude leaves the country in large tankers.

Security experts say the scale of the theft - estimated at up to 250,000 barrels per day - could not be achieved without the complicity of officials.

(Reporting by Joe Brock; editing by Keiron Henderson)

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