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Nigeria Seeks International Aid to Stop Oil Theft

Nigeria, Africa’s largest oil producer, is seeking international help to stop the theft of crude by criminal syndicates tapping pipelines in the Niger River delta, Petroleum Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke said.

President Goodluck Jonathan held talks last week with U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Francois Hollande who are “all coming on board to help sort out this particular menace,” she said. Nigeria is approaching countries where “our products are refined” and proceeds of stolen crude are laundered, Alison-Madueke said at a conference today in Abuja, the capital.

The thefts cost the West African nation about $7 billion in 2011, according to the central bank. Nigeria loses an estimated 250,000 barrels a day in stolen crude, according to a government report on the oil industry prepared for Jonathan.

Daily crude and condensate production averaged 2.4 million barrels in the past year, while the country’s gas output rose to 7.8 billion standard cubic feet a day in 2012 from 6.3 billion standard cubic feet, Alison-Maduekwe said. Nigeria is currently flaring, or burning, 11 percent of gas discovered with oil and targets 2 percent gas flaring by 2015, she said.

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