Fuel theft is a serious issue in South Africa. Some Tips on prevention and monitoring

As the fuel price steadily increases, the rise in fuel theft and fraud poses a serious threat to transporters and their operating profits.

In some countries fuel is transported by large fuel pipelines to bring the transport costs down, but this has made stealing fuel a very easy and big business. The Top 5 counties are:


Up to 80 million liters is stolen daily in Nigeria, with this number growing it just shows that the government and the oil companies involved does not have any way of managing the theft that happens in the Niger Delta. you can read more here


SAN SALVADOR HUIXCOLOTLA, Mexico. The daily farmers market has been converted into an illegal fuel sale market. People selling fuel stolen from pipelines in mexico. It is quickly becoming one of the biggest sideline for drug cartels in mexico due to the ease of getting the fuel. This week there was a big shoot out in Mexico City where the government is trying to crack down on the newly established fuel cartels, but they are still far from winning the war and people are dying on both sides


In Iraq evidence suggests large-scale funneling of stolen Iraqi oil through Syria into Turkey. This fuel is used to mobilise terrorism in the area and the theft is so big that is has a crippling effect on the surrounding countries. Today, it is difficult to estimate just how much oil is being smuggled out of Iraq, as the country’s metering system is behind by a number of years.


Vladimir Putin has ordered Russia’s oil producers to reach an annual production of 535 million tons of oil by 2020 via a network of over 50,000 kilometers of pipeline. A few years ago Transneft threatened to shut down the oil supply to Ukraine, because of oil worth $63 million dollars had been stolen from its PrikarpatZapadtrans pipeline system heading to the beleaguered country. This is after they have already  had issues with organized crime in fractious regions like Dagestan where 27,000 tons of oil was stolen in 2009.


The state of oil smuggling in Indonesia might seem insignificant when compared to Nigeria, at just 2,000-3,000 barrels per day. The government here was asleep to the new booming industry. National oil giant PT Pertamina shut down one of its main pipelines in July 2013. It reported losses of 17,500 barrels of oil within the first week of the pipeline’s exploration.

In these countries fuel theft is picked up because of the big quantity of fuel being stolen daily from a main fuel source.

In South Africa highest quantity of fuel is transported by logistics vehicles.

In a blog post by Transport World Africa they mention some advice on how to curb diesel theft:

Fuel advice
When it comes to giving transport operators advice on curbing fuel theft, Mackie says, “My advice is to install a live monitoring system and take control of your fuel.”

Edmeston states, “As fuel costs continue to rise, illegal diesel skimming is going to take on new proportions. The reality is that rising transport and fuel costs, toll fees, vehicle maintenance costs, hijackings, fuel theft and the challenges around managing driver behaviour and collusion are all placing enormous pressure on fleet owners and companies to find effective and sustainable ways of managing fleets and drivers. Vehicle tracking, with full telematics features, is an essential requirement to achieve optimum fleet performance and drive down operational costs.”
Adds Price, “The popularity surrounding diesel derivatives in the passenger and LDV market, with the perceived saving in fuel consumption, has caused a big demand on diesel engines and has directly impacted the supply of diesel. The one diesel pump standing in the corner, in the open, now has a dedicated line and is in many forecourts the biggest source of revenue. The continuous growth in this market is feeding the demand for cheaper diesel and more theft thereof, and a problem once concentrated to the trucking industry has moved into the entire vehicle market.
“There are many products available to manage fuel and the use thereof. The more focus and fail-safes implemented, the closer one will be to eliminating all these risks, and minimising losses and decreasing operating costs, as every operator is a victim. The question is to what extent are you prepared to be exposed?”