Nigeria’s state-owned oil company says it lost $4b (£3.2b) to oil theft, at the rate of 200,000 barrels per day, last year.
Vandalism of crude oil pipelines further cost the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation about $1.5bn in the first three months of this year.
Last month, theft caused the country’s average crude oil production to fall to just about a million barrels per day from a mean output of 1.2 million barrels per day recorded in April.
In its monthly oil market report, the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) reports that African oil giants like Nigeria, Angola and Equatorial Guinea all recorded a decline in May.
This casts doubt on the hopes that African oil producers could benefit from the global supply chain disruptions sparked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The decline in Nigeria’s crude oil production puts the country’s oil revenue at risk, as it accounts for more than 50% of its income.