Thousands of people in Nigeria engage in a practice known locally as ‘oil bunkering’ – hacking into pipelines to steal crude then refining it or selling it abroad. The practice, which leaves oil spewing from pipelines for miles around, managed to lift around a fifth of Nigeria’s two million barrel a day production last year according to the finance ministry. It sure looks great for the environment.

Illegal Oil Bunkering In Nigeria

An oil pipeline belonging to oil company Agip spews oil after a leak in the Kalaba community in Bayelsa. Akintunde Akinleye/REUTERS

Illegal Oil Bunkering In Nigeria

A man is reflected in oil waste at an illegal oil refinery near river Nun in Nigeria's oil state of Bayelsa. Akintunde Akinleye/REUTERS

Illegal Oil Bunkering In Nigeria

Ebiowei pours water to reduce the intensity of the fire in a locally made burner at an illegal oil refinery site. Akintunde Akinleye/REUTERS

Illegal Oil Bunkering In Nigeria

Ebiowei drags a hose used to help siphon crude oil at an illegal oil refinery site near river Nun in Nigeria's oil state of Bayelsa. Akintunde Akinleye/REUTERS

Illegal Oil Bunkering In Nigeria

A worker walks in front of a locally made burner at an illegal oil refinery site near river Nun. Akintunde Akinleye/REUTERS

Illegal Oil Bunkering In Nigeria

Steam is emitted from pipes as a man describes a process of refining crude oil at an illegal refinery in a creek. Akintunde Akinleye/REUTERS

Illegal Oil Bunkering In Nigeria

A locally made boat containing crude oil is manned through a creek near river Nun in Nigeria's oil state of Bayelsa. Akintunde Akinleye/REUTERS

Illegal Oil Bunkering In Nigeria

A closed fuel station is seen in the Ahoada community near Nigeria's oil hub city of Port Harcourt. Akintunde Akinleye/REUTERS

Illegal Oil Bunkering In Nigeria

Smoke rises as an illegal oil refinery is burnt after a military chase in a creek near river Nun in Nigeria's oil state of Bayelsa. Akintunde Akinleye/REUTERS

Illegal Oil Bunkering In Nigeria

A man and his son walk through polluted farmland in the Kalaba community in Nigeria's oil state of Bayelsa. Akintunde Akinleye/REUTERS

Illegal Oil Bunkering In Nigeria

Canoes lie in oil-slicked mud on the shore of the Bodo creek in Ogoniland near Nigeria's oil hub city of Port Harcourt. Akintunde Akinleye/REUTERS

Illegal Oil Bunkering In Nigeria

Ebiowei, 48, carries an empty oil container on his head to a place where it would be filled with refined fuel at an illegal refinery site. Akintunde Akinleye/REUTERS

Illegal Oil Bunkering In Nigeria

An oil slick is seen as a speedboat churns up the water of Bodo creek next to polluted mangroves. Akintunde Akinleye/REUTERS

Illegal Oil Bunkering In Nigeria

An oil slick flows near abandoned drums at an illegal oil refinery site after the military chased oil theives near river Nun. Akintunde Akinleye/REUTERS

Illegal Oil Bunkering In Nigeria

A man named Godswill collects crude oil from a mini storage unitl filled with oil, which is waiting to be refined at an illegal refinery site. Akintunde Akinleye/REUTERS

Illegal Oil Bunkering In Nigeria

Smoke rises from a locally made burner in an illegal oil refinery site near river Nun in Nigeria's oil state of Bayelsa. Akintunde Akinleye/REUTERS

Illegal Oil Bunkering In Nigeria

Ebiowei carries refined oil in buckets at an illegal oil refinery site near river Nun in Nigeria's oil state of Bayelsa. Akintunde Akinleye/REUTERS

Illegal Oil Bunkering In Nigeria

A man works at an illegal oil refinery site near river Nun in Nigeria's oil state of Bayelsa. Akintunde Akinleye/REUTERS

Illegal Oil Bunkering In Nigeria

A man working at illegal oil refinery site pours oil under a locally made burner to keep the fire going, near river Nun in Nigeria's oil state of Bayelsa. Akintunde Akinleye/REUTERS

Illegal Oil Bunkering In Nigeria

A worker pours crude oil into a locally made burner using a funnel at an illegal oil refinery site. Akintunde Akinleye/REUTERS

Illegal Oil Bunkering In Nigeria

A man works at an illegal oil refinery site near river Nun in Nigeria's oil state of Bayelsa. Akintunde Akinleye/REUTERS

Illegal Oil Bunkering In Nigeria

A passenger speedboat churns up the water, while in the background an illegal oil refinery is left burning. Akintunde Akinleye/REUTERS

Illegal Oil Bunkering In Nigeria

Akpomene is pictured coated in oil stains as she sits in a canoe near river Nun. Akintunde Akinleye/REUTERS

Jan 15, 2013