VENTURES AFRICA – The government of Niger has awarded 9 oil production sharing contracts; the agreements were signed with 5 oil firms, this was contained in a statement issued by the government and made available to Reuters.
Niger is one of Africa’s newest oil producing countries and it seeks to diversify its foreign partners.
Among the five companies awarded contracts were three from neighbouring Nigeria: Labana Petroleum with two blocks (Dibella 1, Dallol), Sirius Energy with one bloc (Grein) and Advantica Gas and Energy with one bloc (Mandaram 2).
Australian-listed International Petroleum Ltd was awarded four blocks (Manga 1, Manga 2, Aborak and West Tenere) and Bermuda-based Genmin was awarded one bloc (Djado 1), it said.
China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) is the country’s dominant international partner and was instrumental to the commencement of oil pumping in November 2011 as part of a $5 billion deal to develop the Agadem block in the West African nation; the company is also carrying out oil exploration in the northern block of Bilma and co-owns the 20,000 barrel per day (bpd) Soraz refinery with the government.
“The adoption of these decrees has been reached in the new climate favourable to investment in Niger and is in line with the policy of diversifying oil partners,” the government said.
Niger is one of the world’s poorest nations although it currently exports uranium. However, the nation’s oil reserves operation is expected to commence on 4 fields at its Agadem bloc by early 2014, increasing its production to 80,000 bpd.
Nigerien government has also predicted its oil and gas sector will generate $164 million in revenue that will help eliminate the need for costly fuel imports.