Niger to Begin Oil Exports Through New Pipeline Worth $2 Billion, Eyes Refining Expansion

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Niger to Begin Oil Exports Through New Pipeline Worth $2 Billion, Eyes Refining Expansion

Flag of Niger (© Shutterstock/Svet foto)
Flag of Niger (© Shutterstock/Svet foto)

Niger is working to export its first crude oil through a newly constructed pipeline linking its Agadem oilfield to the Benin port of Cotonou, marking a significant step in the country's oil development strategy.

Military leader Abdourahamane Tiani announced on state television on Sunday that commercialization of the pipeline is expected to begin in January 2024.

The project, backed by Chinese energy giant PetroChina, was officially launched in November. Tiani said storage tanks in Cotonou are nearing completion, paving the way for the initial exports of 90,000 barrels per day (bdp). Niger will hold a 25.4% stake in the pipeline venture.

While Niger currently boasts a small oil refinery with a capacity of 20,000 bpd, primarily serving domestic fuel needs, Tiani emphasized the government's long-term vision of expanding refining capacity within the country.

"Our desire is not to simply market crude oil," Tiani declared. "We want to move towards a refinery that will process Nigerien crude on Nigerien soil," he added, noting that Niger aspires to maximize the benefits derived from its natural resources.

The pipeline project, estimated to cost $2 billion, represents a critical infrastructure development for Niger, a landlocked nation with vast oil reserves but limited export options. The direct access to the Atlantic Ocean provided by the pipeline is expected to boost Niger's oil revenue and contribute to the country's economic growth.

Tiani, who assumed power as the leader of a military junta in July, has made oil development a central focus of his administration. His emphasis on local refining reflects a broader desire to diversify Niger's economy and create more value-added jobs within the oil sector.

The start of oil exports through the new pipeline will be a closely watched development in the West African region, with potential implications for regional energy markets and Niger's economic trajectory.

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