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Nigerian Oil Swindle: How Did 57 Million Barrels Disappear?

Nigeria has filed a law suit against Eni, Chevron, Shell, Total and Petrobras accusing the oil majors of $12.7 billion in illegal oil exports. Per the Associated Press, these companies failed to declare at least 57 million barrels of crude shipments to the United States between 2011 and 2014. Nigeria’s Lower House of Representatives claims that illegal exports of oil and liquefied natural gas (LNG) are higher at $17 billion, and went not only to the U.S. but also to China ($3 billion) and Norway ($840 million). The Nigerian government determined these estimates through audits that showed discrepancies between the declared amounts of oil leaving Nigeria versus landing in the U.S. and other export markets.

Unaccounted oil exports are symptomatic of greater infrastructure problems. Nigeria has no idea how much oil it produces. According to Ecobank’s Head of Energy Research, Dolapo Oni, no data is collected through...


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