Oil Theft

Information and statistics about oil theft and oil smuggling. Data about the black market in stolen petroleum is collected from published intelligence reports, security agencies and other public information sources.

The Department of Energy estimates that between $684 Million to $1.36 Billion (30 to 60 Billion Philippine Pesos) are lost in government revenue each year due to illegal oil smuggling in the Philippines. Up to 30 to 35 percent of gasoline and diesel sold in the country was smuggled and avoided taxes and duties.

Source: Amy R. Remo, “DOE closing in on oil smugglers, says official,” Inquirer, September 26, 2011.

The national police stated in a report that up to 2.7 million tons of fuel is smuggled into Turkey each year, causing losses of $2.5 Billion in tax revenue.

Statistics from the government of Turkey shows that 70.5 million liters of smuggled fuel was seized in 2010.

Source: Thomas Seibert, “As economy booms, demand for black market fuel soars in Turkey,” National, September 23, 2011.

Between July 20 and September 10, 2011, Customs officials in China investigated 243 cases of oil smuggling within the country that resulted in seizing nearly 300,000 metric tons of refined oil.

Source: Xinhua, “Chinese Customs Uncover 1,700 Metric Tons of Smuggled Oil,” Crienglish, September 19, 2011.


An estimated $12.6 Million (9 Million Euros) a year in tax revenue is lost to the Serbian Government due to fuel smuggling.

Source: Tamara Spaić, “Serbia to lose EUR 9 millions each year because of fuel smuggling,” Blic, September 7, 2011.

Between January and August of 2011, at least 38 oil field workers have been kidnapped in Colombia as the country increases its oil production.

Workers from around the world have been victims of kidnapping in Colombia. Reported kidnapping invovled workers from Colombian controlled company Ecopetrol, United States company Occidental Petroleum, and China based Emerald Energy.

Source: Chris Kraul, “Colombia sees surge in violent crime against oil workers,” Los Angeles Times, August 24, 2011.

Pemex, Latin America’s biggest oil producer, was employing 1,144 security personnel across 288 sites to prevent oil theft and smuggling in 2011.

Between 2001 and July 2011, the company found 97 employees who were involved in fuel theft and oil smuggling. Aside for internal theft, Pemex has filed over 2,600 formal complaints with the government of Mexico for fuel theft between the year 2000 and August 2010.

In the first quarter of 2011, the company lost $250 Million to theft.

Source: Mica Rosenberg, “Pemex counts 100 workers linked to Mexico fuel thefts,” Reuters, July 25, 2011.

Source: Heather Walsh, “Pemex to Hire More Guards to Reduce Theft, El Universal Reports,” Bloomberg, August 6, 2011.

At the Mumbai Port Trust in India, diesel smuggling by organized crime  groups earn between $11 to $13 Million (50 to 60 Indian Crore) a year.

Source: Mateen Hafeez, “From ships to smugglers’ cans,” Times of India, June 19, 2011.

In the first four months of 2011, 20,000 barrels of oil was stolen every day, according to Mexico’s state-owned oil company, Pemex.

The market value of the oil stolen in the first quarter was worth $250 Million.

The rate of 20,000 barrels of oil stolen per day was higher then the 10,000 barrels of smuggled oil that was stolen in 2010.

Source: Associated Presss, “Mexico says $250 million in oil stolen in 4 months,” Boston Globe, June 16, 2011.

A gas smuggler in Venezuela can earn at 4,000 percent profit on a single trip when smuggling subsidized petrol from Venezuela over the border into Colombia.

A gas smuggler can buy 50 liters of gasoline for $1 in Venezuela and sell it for $40 across the border in Colombia.

Source: Girish Gupta, “World’s lowest gas prices fuel Andean smuggling,” Reuters Africa, June 10, 2011.

Oil company Shell reported losing 22,310 barrels of oil from 112 incidents of oil smuggling theft and sabotage in 2010.

187 people were arrested by security agents who were invovled in oil smuggling activities. 28 barges, 20 tankers, 15 vehicles and 38 other boats that were invovled in the smuggling of oil was also seized by authorities in 2010.

Source: AFP, “27,580 barrels of Shell oil spilt in Nigeria in 2010,” Google News, May 27, 2011.