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Niger records first oil exports after completion of $5bn pipeline project

Niger records first oil exports after completion of $5bn pipeline project

Niger has loaded its first crude oil shipment at Benin’s Seme port, according to sources and shipping data, after the completion of the $5 billion Niger-Benin pipeline project.

This development puts the landlocked African country into the league of oil-exporting African nations barely a year after a military coup.

S&P Global Commodities at Sea reported that the Front Cascade, a Suezmax tanker with a capacity of 1 million barrels, was positioned just outside the Seme terminal, ready to dock at 1330 Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).

Shipping data showed the 156,000-dwt Front Cascade (built in 2017) left the Benin port of Seme on Sunday.

The listed destination for this shipment is a single-point mooring linked to the West African Oil Pipeline (Niger & Benin) Company (WAPCO), a subsidiary of China National Petroleum Corp, which built the Niger-Benin pipeline.

“Front Cascade tanker [is] now loading at Seme for the first cargo,” a source told S&P Global Commodity Insights on May 17.

Read also: Nigeria’s crude oil grades sell at $86 after death of Iran’s president

The imminent loading marks the startup of the 110,000 barrels per day (bpd) crude pipeline, which will pave the way for a massive increase in Niger’s oil production and make it a significant exporter.

Niger, an arid and landlocked nation, currently generates only 20,000 barrels of crude oil per day from its Agadem Rift Basin. This oil is mainly used within the country because there is no export route available. However, Niger is prepared to quickly increase production to utilise the new pipeline.

Sources indicated that the pipeline will initially operate at 90,000 barrels per day and will gradually increase to its full capacity.

“This is a major milestone in Niger’s economic history — akin to the development of uranium mining in the 1970s,” said Jim Burkhard, S&P Global’s vice president of oil markets, energy and mobility.

“It is a notable oil market development as well — Niger is set to become the world’s newest oil exporter. And it is adding to world oil supply growth taking place outside of OPEC+.”