Benin pipeline dispute: Niger Stops Oil Exports to China

Niger has stopped exporting oil to China through its pipeline to Benin’s coast. Oil Minister, Mahamane Moustapha Bako, disclosed this on Thursday, escalating an ongoing standoff between the West African neighbours.

At the Agadem oilfield in eastern Niger, Bako supervised the shutdown of a section of the 2,000-km (1,243-mile) pipeline, which was meant to transport oil to China as part of a $400 million agreement with China National Petroleum Corp, according to Africa Briefing.

Relations between Niger and Benin have been tensed since May when Benin blocked crude exports through its port, insisting that Niger’s junta reopen the border to Beninese goods and restore normal relations.

Earlier in the month, Benin authorities detained five Niger nationals for allegedly entering the Seme-Kpodji pipeline terminal under false pretenses a charge Niger rejected, stating the group was supervising crude loading per their agreement with Benin.

“We can’t just sit back while our oil is stolen by other people, because we’re not there where it’s loaded,” Minister Barke Bako told workers, justifying the halt in oil flows, according to a state television broadcast.

Tensions stem from a coup in Niger in July 2023, which prompted the regional bloc ECOWAS to impose strict sanctions for over six months. Although trade was expected to normalize after ECOWAS lifted the sanctions, Niger has continued to keep its borders closed to goods from Benin.

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Comfort Samuel

I work with TV360 Nigeria, as a broadcast journalist, producer and reporter. I'm so passionate on what I do.

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