The prime minister Ali Mahaman Lamine Zeine, appointed by the military in power in Niger, took part in a historic event on Wednesday: the commissioning of a giant pipeline that stretches along nearly 2,000 kilometers, intended to transport crude oil extracted from oil fields in the south -east of the country as far as neighboring Benin, as announced by public television. This major breakthrough opens up new economic prospects for Niger.
However, this inauguration comes in a context marked by the closure of the borders between Niger and Benin, as a response to the regional sanctions imposed after the July 26 coup by the Economic Community of West African States ( ECOWAS). Despite this situation, the Nigerian government is determined to fully exploit this pipeline, which will offer the country the first opportunity to sell its oil on the international market. To do this, the port of Sèmè, located in neighboring Benin, will be the starting point for exports.
During the gas pipeline commissioning ceremony, the prime minister Lamine Zeine he affirmed that the resources from the exploitation of oil will be used exclusively to guarantee the sovereignty and development of Niger, within the framework of an equitable distribution for the benefit of its population. This statement demonstrates the government’s willingness to implement responsible oil revenue management to improve the living conditions of Nigerians.
The inauguration ceremony was also marked by the presence of personalities from neighboring countries, among them Bintou Camara, Minister of Energy of Mali, i Simon Pierre Bossi, Minister of Energy of Burkina Faso. These two countries, also led by military governments, have kept their borders open as a show of solidarity with Niger, despite the sanctions imposed by ECOWAS.
The pipeline project, started in 2019, was initially planned to be completed in 2022. However, the Covid-19 pandemic caused delays in its completion, as explained by the West African Oil Pipeline Company (WAPCO), the mistress of the project. In total, an investment of six billion dollars was required, of which four billion went to the development of the Agadem oil fields, and $2.3 billion was dedicated to the construction of the pipeline, according to the Nigerian government. The commissioning of this giant pipeline represents a major turning point for Niger