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China enters new oil partnership with Niger

According to a new report, Niger and China have entered a new oil partnership worth $400 million that will allow Niamey to bolster security measures to face the growing Islamic threats.
At the same time, Beijing deepens its regional influence amid shifting balances in global energy geopolitics

Italian researcher Francesco Sassi specifies that “Senegal’s new President Bassirou Diomaye Faye wants to revisit contracts with international Oil & Gas companies. After difficult months for democracy in Western Africa, the energy politicisation in Senegal is another sign of the importance of Africa in energy geopolitics. Niger has signed a MoU CNPC, the most important Oil&Gas state-owned energy company in China, linked to the sale and marketing of crude oil from its Agadem oilfield, the largest oil reserve in the African country. A 1,980km cross-border crude oil pipeline between Niger and Benin has been built between 2019 and 2023, being commissioned two years later than expected. The pipeline did not start working in January 2024, as previously asserted by the Niger’s government, but it is now expected to begin oil flows in May 2024.”

He adds:

“Niger and China marks an important step ahead in the process that will see Niger becoming a new African oil exporter in 2024. The $400 million deal, which is particularly secretive as details have not been shared by the parties, will allow CNPC to manage the marketing of oil from the facility that the same Chinese companies have financed with billions.
A JV led by CNPC has been developing Agadem since 2011 and so far production has served the domestic refinery at Zinder, processing around 20,000 barrels a day of diesel, petrol and LPG consumed in the domestic market, while serving Niger’s army in its efforts to fight rising violent extremist organisations.”

According to Niger’s PM Ali Mahaman Lamine Zeine “China is a great friend to Niger; we can never say it enough.” “This signature demonstrates the friendship…and fruitful cooperation between the two states.”

Furthermore, Sassi notes that the signature comes at a hinge point in Niger’s foreign policy and development of the regional security scenario, explaining:

“In the aftermath of the military coup of 2023, just the latest in a long series of events threatening democracy in the Sahel region, the new regime in Niamey cut any link with the former colonial ruler France. Last month, Niger suspended military cooperation with the🇺🇸US after a decade during which Niamey has been the most reliable partner of Washington in the Sahel.

Here, the US operates one of the largest drone bases in Africa. In October 2023, after taking some time to reconsider the relationship with the country, the US decided to cut off more than US$500 million in assistance, directly affecting Niger’s security funding. China and🇷🇺Russia have not waited long.

Beijing and Moscow stepped in respectively as the main economic and security partners of Niger. The revenues from the oil deal with CNPC will largely flow towards the security area, where Moscow has already pledged to assist Niger.”