In an article in Bloomberg Businessweek, a team of oil thieves stated that they are able to make up to $6,098 (1 Million Nigerian Naira) a day from stealing oil from pipelines.
The thieves steal oil from pipeline managed and operated by multinational oil companies such as Royal Dutch Shell. The oil thieves cut through the pipelines with saws and siphon the oil into barrerls. The oil is then brought to illegal refiners located across Nigeria.
The refining process at these illegal refiners takes about six hours. The crude oil is boiled in a drum, cooled by water, and then stored in another container. The oil is then filtered into gasoline, kerosene and diesel. Any left over unfiltered oil is simply tossed into the water.
An average sized illegal refinery in the Nigerian Delta can make over $1 Million a month refining stolen oil.
Source: Alexis Okeowo, “Oil Thieves of the Niger Delta,” Bloomberg Businessweek, February 20, 2014.