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Niamey, Niger (PANA) – Eight years after Niger began producing oil, the government on Friday adopted a National Oil Policy highlighting the strategic nature of the commodity, an official statement said on Saturday.
“It is crucial to have a National Oil Policy setting a clear vision and development axis for this sector from upstream to downstream,” the government said.
According to the statement, the vision behind the Policy is “to make the Nigerien oil sector a major driver of economic and social development for current and future generations, by managing resources responsibly and respectfully”.
The country produces about 20,000 barrels/day under a production sharing agreement with a Chinese company, CNPC-NP at the Agadem Block. Production at the Zinder refinery ensures self-sufficiency in Niger’s refined products.
“In addition to the proven potential in the Agadem area, which will enable Niger to become a crude oil exporting country in 2021, (Niger) has recently identified new deposits on the Algerian border in the Kafra block,” the government statement said.
The government said oil is a strategic and dynamic commodity and its management is at the heart of many challenges such as how protect economic, environmental and social interests while increasing the attraction of the sector to international investors.
It also brings up issues of how to preserve the interest of consumers while ensuring the financial balance of the sector for its viability and sustainability.
The Minister of Petroleum, Foumakoye Gado, has said Niger’s oil production is expected to increase five-fold by the end of 2021, with the Agadem block in the north-east of the country and 112 deposits discovered by the Chinese company CNPC-NP.
According to the minister, Niger will be able to export about 90,000 barrels a day, while continuing to supply the refinery about 20,000 barrels a day.
Gado recalled that last June, the State awarded CNPC-NP a new exclusive operating licence on the Agadem block which will allow it to exploit for oil hydrocarbons discovered on the 112 deposits.
The oil industry has built schools in the oilfields’ operational zones and along the pipelines. It has also provided materials for schools to support local people’s efforts, drilled water wells for communities, as well as built health centres and supplied medicines.