Oil-rich but cash-strapped Nigeria is losing 200,000 barrels of oil valued at 13 million dollars daily to theft and vandalism, the state-run oil group NNPC said on Thursday.
Managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Mele Kyari was quoted as making the disclosure on Wednesday during a meeting with the country's defence chief, Major-general Lucky Irabor in Abuja.
"We have two sets of losses, one coming from our products and the other coming from crude oil," Kyari was quoted as saying in a statement by the NNPC.
"In terms of crude losses, it is still going on. On the average, we are losing 200,000 barrels of crude every day," he said, adding that more assistance was needed from the security forces to stop the theft.
Irabor promised "maximum security" for the nation's oil and gas assets.
"I tell you that the Armed Forces of Nigeria will collaborate with you to protect NNPC's assets," Irabor said.
Nigeria is Africa's largest oil producer and exporter, pumping an average of two million barrels of crude oil per day.
It relies on the oil sector for 90 percent of foreign exchange earnings and 70 percent of government revenue, but the fall in oil prices and combined with the Covid-19 have squeezed the finances of the government in Africa's largest economy.