Niger-Benin Pipeline Dispute: Stalemate Continues

The Benin-Niger inter-state committee meeting failed to resolve ongoing issues between the two nations. Both countries have partnered with China National Petroleum Corp on an oil project that has yet to fully commence. This project involves a pipeline connecting Koulele in Niger to the port of Seme in Benin, expected to produce about 90,000 barrels per day. Currently, Niger produces approximately 20,000 barrels per day, mainly from China National Petroleum Corp projects in the Agadem Rift Basin in southeastern Niger.

Despite months of strained relations, the Nigerien side of the border remains closed. Last week, Benin’s minister of mines, Samou Seidou Adambi, met with his counterpart in Niamey. However, Benin’s president, Patrice Talon, expressed disappointment that Adambi could not deliver his message to Niger’s transitional president, Abdourahmane Tchiani. On June 1, Niger’s Prime Minister Lamine Ali Zeine stated that Tchiani could not meet the Beninese envoy due to another engagement. Zeine also accused Benin of expelling Nigerien representatives who arrived at the port.

On May 15, Benin granted temporary and provisional authorization for the first ship to load Nigerian oil at the Seme platform. However, Benin insists that regular pipeline operations require a proper state-to-state relationship framework and has called for the reopening of the border. Niger, grappling with terrorism, argues that the border closure is necessary for security reasons. This ongoing impasse highlights the complexities in diplomatic and economic relations between Benin and Niger, despite their shared interests in the oil project.

About Geraldine Boechat 2735 Articles
Senior Editor for Medafrica Times and former journalist for Swiss National Television. former NGO team leader in Burundi and Somalia