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Theft hurts Nigeria’s oil output but crackdown intensifies

Nigeria is losing 470,000 barrels of crude oil per day to theft and pipeline vandalism, regulators say, and has now lost its status as Africa’s largest crude producer to Angola.

With the decline, Nigeria has dropped to fourth place among Africa’s largest crude-producing countries, according to the International Energy Agency’s latest oil market report released this week.

The problem is also making it more difficult for Nigeria to meet the 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) production quota set by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). And it’s further hurting government finances amid an economic downturn in Africa’s most populous nation.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari says the country’s revenue crisis “is caused mainly by the activities of unscrupulous citizens through the theft of our crude oil, a major contributor to our revenue base.”

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