Somalo Magazine – Niger military leaders have commissioned a giant pipeline that will carry crude oil to neighboring Benin. This was revealed by the Niger’s state-owned television on Wednesday.
The 2,000-kilometre-long oil pipeline will allow Niger to sell its crude on the international market for the first time, via the Benin port of Seme.
Niger’s Agadem oil site, is more than 1,700 kilometres from the capital Niamey, in the desert region of Diffa.
According to Prime Minister Ali Mahaman Lamine Zeine,the resources from exploitation would be used to ensure the sovereignty and development of Niger.
The border between Niger and Benin is closed following heavy sanctions imposed by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) after the July 26 military takeover.
The pipeline project was supposed to be completed in 2022 but was delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic, the project owner told AFP news agency.
The oil is extracted by the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC).
Some $6 billion has been invested in the project, according to Niger’s government, including $4 billion to develop the oil fields and $2.3 billion for the construction of the pipeline.
This new investment will allow the country to increase oil production to 110,000 barrels per day, with an official target to increase to 200,000 barrels per day by 2026.
Niger, where the military seized power on July 26 by overthrowing elected president Mohamed Bazoum, had seen mass protests calling for troops of former colonial ruler France to leave.
As well as the ECOWAS sanctions, many Western countries have cut off development aid to Niger.
The World Bank has warned that GDP growth is set to fall to 2.3 percent this year if international sanctions continue.