Niger will produce its first barrel of oil in the first quarter of 2012 and will build a pipeline linking the Chad-Cameroon pipeline to enable it to export its surplus production, Niger’s prime minister said yesterday.
The West African nation, already one of the world’s biggest suppliers of uranium, will start production at its estimated 650 million barrels reserves under a US$5 billion deal with China’s CNPC at the Agadem bloc and plans to also construct a refinery.
“The first barrel of the Agadem block will be produced in the first quarter of 2012. Construction of the refinery … and a 462.5 km pipeline will be completed by the end of 2011,” Prime Minister Brigi Raffini said in parliament late yesterday.
The 20,000 barrels per day capacity refinery will largely meet the local demand for 7,000 barrels per day, while the rest will be exported via Chad, the prime minister said.
It is expected that wealth from oil production will enable Niger, one of the world’s poorest nations despite its uranium, to deal with the perennial problem of severe food shortages and famine.