Niger has signed an agreement with neighbouring Chad to construct a 600 km (373 miles) pipeline linking it to the Chad-Cameroon pipeline which will enable it to export its crude, Niger's oil minister said. Niger is expected to begin operating reserves on four fields at its Agadem bloc by early 2014, and increase its production to 80,000 barrels-per-day of which 60,000 will be exported through the pipeline.
"This is a first milestone towards the export of Niger's crude," Foumakoye Gado said after the signing of a memorandum of understanding with the Chadian oil minister.
The two ministers gave no indication of when the construction of the pipeline will begin, nor its cost. The minister said about 193 km of the pipeline will link the Agadem bloc to the Chad border.
"Then another 400 km of pipeline will be built in Chad to connect to the existing (Chad-Cameroon) pipeline which is already used to export Chadian crude to the port of Kribi in Cameroon," the minister said.
Niger became one of Africa's newest oil producers in November with the inauguration of its Soraz refinery, a $5 billion joint venture with China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) near Zinder, around 900 km east of the capital Niamey.
The 20,000 barrel-per-day capacity refinery, 60 percent-owned by CNPC and 40 percent by Niger, is fed entirely by oil from the Agadem oilfield a further 700 km east.