• Saturday, April 20, 2024
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BusinessDay

This West African country prepares to export its first-ever crude oil

Crude oil remains Nigeria’s export Achilles heel

Abdourahamane Tiani, Niger’s military leader, has announced the country’s ambitious goal of commencing oil exports through the newly constructed Niger-Benin pipeline in January 2024. This marks a significant milestone for the West African nation, aiming to unlock its vast oil reserves and potentially boost its economic development.

The 2,000-kilometer pipeline, backed by Chinese energy giant PetroChina, stretches from the Agadem oilfield in Niger to the Beninese port of Cotonou.

This crucial infrastructure will provide Niger with a direct route to international markets, bypassing the logistical challenges and security risks associated with landlocked oil production.

Read also: Crude oil export rises 8.5% to N5.59trn in three months

“The transport of crude is underway to the Atlantic Ocean ” and “next January (…) we can hope for the first releases of barrels of Nigerien crude,” said Tiani in a television interview public.

Of the “90,000 barrels” produced “per day” which will be sent to Benin, Niger will receive 25.4 per cent of the revenue or those of “22,860 barrels per day”, he said.

Crude oil will be transported from Agadem (south-east) to neighbouring Benin by a giant pipeline commissioned at the beginning of November by the civilian Prime Minister appointed by the military, Ali Mahaman Lamine Zeine.

The borders between Niger and Benin have been closed since the application of heavy regional sanctions imposed by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) , in reaction to the July 26 coup.

Thanks to this nearly 2,000 km long oil pipeline, Niger, one of the poorest states in the world, will be able to sell its crude oil on the international market for the first time, via the port of Sèmè in Benin.

Read also: How crude oil export terminal licence granted Belemaoil may change Nigeria’s oil export game

A second refinery

According to the Nigerien government, six billion dollars were invested, including $4 billion to develop the oil fields (Agadem deposit) and $2.3 billion for the construction of the oil pipeline.

These investments have made it possible to increase Niger’s oil production to 110,000 barrels per day, of which 90,000 barrels must be exported.

Black gold is extracted by the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC).

Since 2011, Niger has been refining some 20,000 barrels per day, mainly diesel and gasoline, in Zinder, in the center-east of the country.

Tiani also announced the construction of a second refinery with the support of external partners, without giving details of the project.

Officially, Niger’s reserves “are around two billion barrels”, he declared.

According to official projections, the country will produce 200,000 barrels daily in 2026.