By Chris Thompson
General Abdourahamane Tiani, the leader of the military government that has administered the Niger Republic under regional sanctions since a coup in July, declared that Nigerien crude oil will be marketed on the international market starting in January.
“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 General Abdourahamane 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% of the revenue or those of “22,860 barrels per day”, he said.
A massive pipeline, which was put into service at the beginning of November by Ali Mahaman Lamine Zeine, the civilian prime minister nominated by the military, would carry crude oil from Agadem (south-east) to neighbouring Benin.
Since the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) implemented severe regional sanctions in response to the coup on July 26, the borders between Niger and Benin have been closed.
Niger, one of the world’s poorest countries, will be allowed to sell its crude oil on the international market for the first time via the port of Sèmè in Benin, thanks to this approximately 2,000 km long oil pipeline.
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.
General 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.