Nigeria Loses $46 Billion to Crude Oil Theft: A Looming Fiscal Crisis

In a concerning revelation, the Speaker of the House of Representatives in Nigeria, Tajudeen Abbas, has unveiled the extensive economic toll of crude oil theft on the nation. A staggering $46 billion has been lost to this illicit activity between 2009 and 2020, as disclosed during the inauguration of an ad-hoc committee to investigate crude oil theft and its consequences.

The Gravity of Crude Oil Theft

The gravity of this issue becomes evident with the revelation of this substantial financial loss. Rt. Hon Abbas emphasized that Nigeria lost an estimated $46 billion due to crude oil theft during the aforementioned period. This theft has significant repercussions for the nation’s economy and its ability to harness the benefits of its abundant natural resources.


The Speaker also highlighted findings from the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), which further underscore the severity of the situation. A staggering 619 million barrels of crude oil, valued at $46 billion, were stolen during the years in question. This immense loss has been a persistent challenge, casting a shadow over Nigeria’s oil production and revenue.

Impacting Oil Production

Crude oil theft has not only resulted in substantial financial losses but has also severely impacted Nigeria’s oil production. It is estimated that between 5% and 30% of daily crude oil production is lost due to theft, undermining the growth and potential of the country’s oil sector.


Rt. Hon Abbas elaborated on the matter, pointing out that Nigeria has struggled to meet its daily production quota set by the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). This production shortfall hampers the nation’s economic growth and stability.

A Warning of Fiscal Crisis

The Speaker issued a stark warning that failure to address the issue of crude oil theft could plunge Nigeria into a deeper fiscal crisis. Given the dwindling revenue from the oil and gas sector, urgent and decisive action is imperative to rectify this situation. The declining oil production and the challenges faced in meeting production quotas emphasize the urgency of the matter.

Global Uncertainty Compounds Challenges

Abbas also acknowledged the global factors influencing Nigeria’s oil and gas industry. The ongoing recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine conflict have created an atmosphere of uncertainty. These external factors have added to the challenges confronting Nigeria’s vital oil sector, requiring the nation to navigate a complex landscape.

In conclusion, Nigeria stands at a critical juncture, where the issue of crude oil theft threatens its fiscal stability and economic prospects. Addressing this challenge is paramount to secure a more prosperous future for the nation and its people.