* Shell says $1 bln/month oil theft figure probably accurate
* Proposed legal changes curbing Nigeria's oil output
* Some Nigerian risks worsened, Shell says in annual report
By Alex Lawler and Simon Falush
LONDON, March 13 Royal Dutch Shell lost
nearly $1 billion through theft and various disruptions to its
Nigerian oil and liquefied natural gas (LNG) operations in 2013
and said that rampant oil theft is costing the country even
The Anglo Dutch company, updating investors on its strategy,
also said that proposed Nigerian legislation had curbed
investment, hindering production, while security is a daily
challenge and oil theft "very material".
Nigeria is important for Shell because the African country
provides almost 10 percent of the company's output and is seen
as a source of future growth. In its annual report, also
published on Thursday, Shell said that some risks of working in
Nigeria had worsened.
The Nigerian Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), a piece of
legislation several years in the making, has not passed but it
could change the terms for foreign oil companies in the country.
"There are at least three to four different versions of it
and most of them have been unhelpful to supporting future
investments in the country," Simon Henry, Shell's chief
financial officer, said on a conference call.
"Therefore the industry at large has taken almost no
significant investment decision in that six, seven-year period.
So the country's 4 millon barrel-a-day target has effectively
become actual production of less than 2 (million bpd)."
Nigeria produced about 1.9 million bpd in February,
according to OPEC figures.
Oil theft is often associated with criminals who tap crude
from pipelines for local refining. Stolen oil also leaves the
country in tankers.
"The theft is very material," Henry said. "Figures have been
quoted up to a billion dollars a month being stolen from the
governmet, in effect, and that figure is probably accurate."
Shell's Nigerian oil and gas output averaged 265,000 barrels
of oil equivalent per day in 2013, down 100,000 bpd from 2012
and equal to about 8 percent of total supply of 3.2 million bpd.
The company, which is in the process of selling some onshore
Nigerian oil blocks, still views Nigeria as a source of
longer-term growth and Henry said Shell would continue to invest
in gas and deepwater projects.