The value chain
Crude oil pipeline tapping – vulnerable infrastructure is easily accessed to fix a tap to a pipeline or well head to siphon crude oil to export or supply refining camps. Locations are dotted across the region’s network of pipelines.
Artisanal Refining – The technique has been in use for 40 or 50 years, depending on accounts, and has evolved to refine anywhere between 5 to 1,000 barrels of oil per day. Now producing gasoline, diesel and kerosene, as well as engine oil and bitumen for tarring roads. Thousands of ad hoc refineries built from scrap metal are camped deep in the mangrove forest.
Marketing and sales – Involves transporting the gasoline, diesel and kerosene from refining camps into nearby communities, into cities supplying businesses and petrol stations, and smuggled across land and sea borders within West Africa and beyond.
Our full report on the artisanal oil industry between 2012 and 2017 is available, together with interviews with people previously working in the industry.