25th March 2017
The modalities of oil theft range from low-level tapping, siphoning, adulteration and smuggling, to extremely sophisticated maritime operations involving extensive networks of actors, to brazenly corrupt dynamics in which states lose billions of dollars per year while their officials profit from those losses. At peak prices, tapping a Mexican pipeline of refined oil for only seven minutes could earn a cartel $90,000. In 2012 alone, hydrocarbons fraud cost the EU €4 billion in lost revenues. In Nigeria, 30% of all hydrocarbons products are smuggled into neighboring states.
In recognition of the magnitude of the problem and the need for it to be addressed, Atlantic Council published in January 2017 the landmark report Downstream Oil Theft: Global Modalities, Trends, and Remedies, the first major study of refined oil theft around the globe.
In support of this publication, the London-based foreign policy think-tank Human Security Centre (HSC) and the Washington-based think-tank Atlantic Council have over the last week co-hosted a series of events on an event on Downtream Oil Theft. The events took place at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies in London on 21st March 2017, Cercle de Lorraine in Brussels on 22nd March, and at Cercle de l’Union interalliee in Paris on 23rd March. Principle speakers included Dr. Ian M Ralby, Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council Global Energy Center, ambassador Richard Morningstar (Ret.), Founding Director and Chairman of the Atlantic Council Global Energy Center, and Eric Besson, former French Minister Industry, Energy, and Digital Economy.