Nigeria doesn’t know exactly how much oil it produces, but is pretty sure $17B is missing


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Nigeria’s president has claimed “mind-boggling” sums have been stolen from the country’s oil industry. Just how much is now becoming clear.
Lawmaker in the House of Representatives Johnson Agbonayinma alleged last month that $17 billion in oil and liquefied natural gas was exported from Nigeria without being properly declared between 2011 and 2014.

It was the latest allegation of multibillion-dollar graft directed at Nigeria’s oil industry. Nigeria has long been Africa’s top-oil producer, and oil proceeds make up 90% of the country’s exports and a large part of its budget. The reliance on oil revenue dragged Nigeria’s economy into hard times when the price of crude on the global market started dropping in 2014. The situation worsened earlier this year when militants began sabotaging pipelines in the country’s oil-rich Niger Delta.

As a result, production fell to around 1.5 million barrels per-day from its normal level of over two million barrels, and the country officially entered a recession in the second quarter of this year. President Muhammadu Buhari has cast himself as a corruption fighter and claimed that the petroleum industry is riddled with graft. The government believes international oil companies are at least partially responsible for the missing money. In a series of lawsuits filed earlier this year, Nigeria claimed several oil majors, including American firm Chevron and Italy’s Eni, didn’t declare $12.7 billion worth of crude and natural gas exports.

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