18July 2012, Sweetcrude, NIAMEY – NIGER, one of Africa’s latest oil producers, has awarded nine production sharing agreements to five oil firms as one of Africa’s newest oil producers seeks to diversify its foreign partners, a government statement said.
China National Petroleum Corporation is Niger’s dominant international partner and helped the country begin pumping oil last November as part of a $5 billion deal to develop the Agadem block in the West African nation’s east, Reuters reported.
State-owned CNPC is also looking for oil in the northern block of Bilma and co-owns the 20,000 barrel per day 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,” according to a government statement on public television, the news wire reported.
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), according to a local newspaper.
Australian-listed International Petroleum was awarded four blocks (Manga 1, Manga 2, Aborak and West Tenere) and Bermuda-based Genmin was awarded one bloc (Djado 1), it said.
Niger, one of the world’s poorest countries, is expected to begin operating reserves on four fields at its Agadem bloc by early 2014, increasing its production to 80,000 bpd.