3,700 Cases of Pipeline Vandalism in Nigeria

3,700 Cases of  Pipeline Vandalism in Nigeria3,700 Cases of  Pipeline Vandalism in Nigeria

Nigeria's state-run oil company said Tuesday it had recorded 3,700 cases of pipeline vandalism last year, leading to a revenue loss of $299 million.

The sabotage of pipelines is a major problem in Africa's leading crude producer, resulting in massive oil theft, or so-called "bunkering" that costs the country billions in lost revenue.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation said in its latest annual statistical bulletin that incidents of pipeline vandalism rose by 4.54% in 2014, compared to the situation in the preceding year, AFP reported.

"A total of 3,732 line breaks was reported on NNPC pipelines, out of which 3,700 were as a result of vandalism, while 32 cases were due to system deterioration," it said.

The NNPC added that the resulting loss of both crude oil and refined petroleum products that go through the pipelines had cost nearly $299 million.

The state-run group said total oil production for 2014 stood at 798.5 million barrels, a marginal drop of 0.24% from 2013.

Stolen crude and illegally refined oil products are regularly smuggled out and sold on the lucrative black market—an illicit business that is estimated to cost the country some much-needed $6 billion a year in revenue.

Major oil operators, including Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell, have blamed repeated oil thefts and sabotage of key pipelines as the major cause of spills and pollution in the southern oil-producing region.