Confronting downstream oil theft

First major study of downstream oil theft is released by company set up by Dr Ian Ralby.

A company set up by a Gates Cambridge Scholar and specialising in advising on strategic defence and security matters has released the first-ever major study on global downstream oil theft - a form of criminal enterprise that threatens to destabilise states and regions around the world.

I.R. Consilium, LLC released the report Downstream Oil Theft: Global Modalities, Trends and Remedies which was formally launched today at the Atlantic Council’s inaugural Global Energy Forum in Abu Dhabi.

The report, co-authored by Dr Ian Ralby, CEO of I.R. Consilium and a former Gates Cambridge Scholar, says that downstream oil theft - criminal misdirection of oil and oil products at any point after transfer to refineries - is a burgeoning global issue. Citing “theft, fraud, smuggling, laundering, [and] corruption”, the report details how such criminal activity “has become a significant threat not only to local and regional prosperity but also to global security and stability”. The document’s three parts present 10 case studies examining downstream oil theft in a range of geographic settings, analyse trends in downstream hydrocarbons crime, identify key stakeholders and recommend approaches to confronting this growing challenge.

The study, conducted in cooperation with the Atlantic Council and with support from SICPA, shows that downstream oil theft is not merely an isolated criminal activity; it also serves to finance terrorist groups, violent insurgents and organised crime syndicates. 

It says downstream hydrocarbons crime is a complex and sometimes ambiguous problem; its perpetrators “range from sophisticated and sinister international networks to well-meaning humanitarian service providers on limited budgets in poor and desperate communities”. It adds that addressing the challenge in all its facets will require international cooperation, reform, regulations and standards, direct intervention and concreate countermeasures, all of which it discusses.

The formal presentation of Downstream Oil Theft featured an expert panel including Dr Ralby as well as Éric Besson, former Minister of Industry, Energy, and Digital Economy for France; Dr. John C. Gannon, former Chair of the US National Intelligence Council; and Kola Karim, Group CEO at Shoreline Energy International. 

Dr Ralby [2007], who was external officer on the Gates Scholars Council during his time at Cambridge, did an MPhil which critiqued the jurisprudence of the Iraqi High Tribunal, arguing that, regardless of actual guilt or innocence, the court had misapplied the law in the Hussein trial. This segued into his PhD, titled “Private Military and Security Companies in the Uncharted Spaces of the Law”, examining the gaps in the accountability of private security companies and the relative merits of the ongoing efforts to close those gaps. That work fed directly into his active role in the international processes and led to him establishing I.R. Consilium.

Picture credit: Wikipedia.