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Niger-Benin pipeline: Diplomatic tensions threaten oil exports

Benin President Patrice Talon listening to French President Emmanuel Macron after a sining ceremony at the Elysee Palace in Paris, on Nov. 9, 2021.   -  
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Michel Euler/Copyright 2021 The AP. All rights reserved


First drops of Nigerien oil gushed out at Sémè Kraké in Benin two weeks ago, Beninese president Patrice Talon now says Niger will not use its port to export the oil.

In a statement Wedsday (May 8), Talon said that Niger's logic was to blame.

Benin is a member of ECOWAS. The west African bloc threatened the Nigerien junta with a military operation following a coup last July.

The operation eventually didn't not happen.

Hit by sanctions imposed by ECOWAS, Niger closed its border with Benin.

Porto-Novo progressively took a softer stance on its neighbour and opened its border.

READ MORE: Member states except those under military rule ready for intervention in Niger- ECOWAS

Talon claims his country exports large quantities of staples to Niger but because of the closed border on the Nigerien side, informal vendors profit when Beninese have to suffer a price increase.

Talon accused Nigerien authorities of rejecting formal cooperation. He has tied the opening of the Sémè port to the normalization of trade relations.

The pipeline, linking Koulele in Niger to the port of Seme in Benin will produce about 90,000 barrels per day, something that will transform Niger into a significant regional oil producer.

Niger currently pumps around 20,000 bpd of oil, most of it from China National Petroleum Corp. projects in the Agadem Rift Basin in the country's southeast.

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