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Wednesday,January 16th, 2013

Yahoo News: Nigeria’s oil thieves say government leaves them no choice  

SNP Coordinator

Reuters(Yahoo)- This story describes how Nigeria’s oil thieves who plunder up to half of Nigeria’s oil output blame the government for their crimes. In any case, by allowing crippling conditions and allowing the crime, Nigeria’s nonexistent government is solely responsible-

Reuters(Yahoo) Excerpt:

“….Plumes of grey or yellow smoke fill the air as men who will give only their first names go to work in an illegal industry that the government says lifts a fifth of Nigeria’s output of two million barrels a day.

Oil ‘bunkering’ — hacking into pipelines to steal crude then refining it or selling it abroad — has become a major cost to Nigeria’s treasury, which depends on oil for 80 percent of its earnings.

Major General Johnson Ochoga, who leads a military campaign against bunkering that was stepped up last year under orders from President Goodluck Jonathan, told Reuters nearly 2,000 suspects had been arrested and 4,000 refineries, 30,000 drums of products and hundreds of bunkering boats destroyed in 2012.

Yet the complicity of security officials and politicians who profit from the practice, and the lack of alternatives for those who undertake it, cast doubt on the likelihood of success.

Forty-year-old Goodluck, who shares his name and tribe with the president, says he would much rather have got a respectable job, except that, despite the billions of petrodollars coursing through the region’s creeks over decades, there aren’t any.

“This refinery is the only thing I know that can ensure my survival, at least for now,” he told Reuters, sitting under a small makeshift iron roof shelter from the boiling sun, his hands sticky with crude.

“Doing this you can make up to $60 in a day,” he said, gesturing with a nod towards oil drums full of homemade diesel shaded by smoked-blackened palm trees.

Most of the stolen crude is shipped offshore, with the remaining 10 percent refined locally. There is plenty of demand for the diesel, kerosene and gasoline Goodluck makes by boiling up stolen crude in a steel drum over a wood fire.

Nigeria’s legal refineries have been left largely defunct by decades of mismanagement and corruption, with the result that fuel stations in the world’s 12th largest oil producing country often run out of supplies.

“PUSHED TO THE WALL”

Goodluck gets up at dawn in the traffic-choked city of Yenagoa, in Bayelsa state, a humid labyrinth of creeks, swaps and mangrove forests that is home to 2 million people, mostly subsistence fishermen.

Little of this fragile wetland environment has been untainted by oil. Blackened mangroves that died slurping spilled crude from polluted waters blight the landscape. Local women dry out cassava on hot orange gas flares.

After breakfast Goodluck makes for the jetty where his boat is tied. On his way to his secret refinery, he also uses the boat to run a part-time paid ferry service.

The plumes of dark smoking rising from sites dotted along the riverbank for miles around show he is not alone in depending on illegal refining, an activity in which he sees no wrong.

“Though it is illegal, the oil belongs to all of us. This is our own share,” he said, echoing the justification given by many locals who feel they have been left out of the oil riches flowing from underneath them.  Read all  http://news.yahoo.com/

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