June 13, 2024
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OIL & GAS

Benin Reverses Decision on Niger Oil Export Blockade

The Republic of Benin has provisionally overturned its decision to block exports of crude oil from Niger Republic to China through its Cotonou Port. In a statement on Wednesday, Benin’s Minister for Water, Energy, and Mines announced plans for a meeting between the two nations to address the issue.

Last week, three vessels carrying crude oil from Niger to China were denied access to dock at the Cotonou Port by Benin authorities.

President Patrice Talon stated that access to the Cotonou Port for Niger oil exports would only resume if the border blockade between Niamey and Benin ends.

“If you want to use our waters for oil loading, Benin cannot be considered an adversary while expecting passage through our territory,” President Talon remarked.

“We are willing to collaborate with Niger, but they have hindered truck crossings,” he added.

However, on Wednesday, Benin’s Minister for Water, Energy, and Mines, Samou Seïdou Adambi, revealed that Benin had agreed to allow Niger access to its port following discussions with Chinese partners.

“We have decided to permit the loading of the first vessel in our waters. However, this authorization is provisional,” Adambi informed reporters after the meeting.

Benin aims to uphold all agreements within the pipeline project and plans to convene a meeting to address urgent matters concerning the pipeline’s export operations, Adambi noted.

Relations between Benin and Niger have been tense since the July coup in Niger, prompting ECOWAS to impose strict sanctions for over six months.

While trade flows were expected to normalize after ECOWAS lifted sanctions to deter Niger from exiting the political and economic union, Niger has maintained its border closure to goods from Benin without formal explanation, President Talon remarked.

Energy News Africa reports that Niger’s Prime Minister, Ali Mahaman Lamine Zeine, criticized Benin’s blockade of Niger’s oil exports, citing violations of trade agreements between the two nations and with Niger’s Chinese partners. He also cited security concerns for not fully reopening the border with Benin.

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