- Title: NIGER: Country becomes self-sufficient with refinery launch
- Date: 29th November 2011
- Summary: ZINDER, NIGER (NOVEMBER 28, 2011) (REUTERS) CHINESE AND NIGERIEN FLAGS FLYING IN A ROW SIGN ANNOUNCING THE LAUNCH OF THE OIL REFINERY CHINESE AND NIGERIEN DELEGATES SEATED AT THE LAUNCH CHINA NATIONAL PETROLEUM CORPORATION (CNPC) PRESIDENT JIANG JIEMIN OFFICIAL TALKING TO GATHERED CROWD CHINESE AND NIGERIEN WORKERS LOOKING ON NIGERIEN PRESIDENT MAHAMADOU ISSOUFOU ADDRESSING DELEGATES VIEW OF MODEL OF REFINERY IN DISPLAY CABINET ISSOUFOU AND DELEGATES INSPECTING THE MODEL MORE OF MODEL CHINESE WORKER STANDING NEXT TO OIL REFINERY VARIOUS OF PIPES VARIOUS OF JIEMIN AND ISSOUFOU OPENING OIL REFINERY TAP SURROUNDED BY CROWD TECHNICIANS WORKING AT COMPUTERS VARIOUS OF DELEGATION INSPECTING REFINERY CONTROL CENTRE (SOUNDBITE) (French) SANI MAMANE, LOCAL RESIDENT SAYING: "I'm very happy with the refinery of petrol in my country because its something that will develop our economy." STREET VIEW (SOUNDBITE) (French) SANI ARZIKA, MOTORBIKE TAXI DRIVER SAYING: "The price (of fuel) is too expensive, it's too expensive." WOMEN COOKING IN THE STREET
- Embargoed: 14th December 2011 12:00
- Location: Niger, Niger
- Country: Niger
- Topics: Business,Energy
- Reuters ID: LVAAZ2J18ANK5WK9QZ9RPLD6NT28
- Story Text: Niger inaugurated its first oil refinery on Monday (November 28), marking the arrival of the West African state as a commercial oil producer and making it self-sufficient in refined oil products.
The Soraz refinery near Zinder, some 900 km (560 miles) east of the capital Niamey is a joint venture with China. Its 20,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) capacity will be fed entirely by oil from the newly-launched Agadem oilfield a further 700 km east.
Speaking to gathered delegates at the launch of the refinery President Mahamadou Issoufou said it was a big day for Niger, which has been prospecting for oil for 50 years.
The opening ceremony was broadcast live on state television.
The Soraz refinery will initially draw crude from three Agadem wells with reserves totalling 480 million barrels. Local consumption of refined products accounts for 7,000 bpd with plans to export the rest.
The Soraz refinery is 60 percent-owned by Chinese state oil company CNPC and 40 percent by Niger. It follows a 5 billion US dollar deal signed between the two in 2008 to concurrently build the plant and develop crude oil from Agadem.
CNPC President Jiang Jiemin said CNPC and the Nigerien government had agreed to begin a second phase of the project involving the construction of a pipeline to export crude oil to foreign markets. The pipeline is expected to be built by 2013 to 2014.
At the refinery launch Jiang Jiemin and President Issoufou took a tour of the control room before jointly turning on the tap to mark the official opening of the plant, ready for construction of the pipe.
Thanks to the oil, Niger is seen hitting 8.5 percent growth next year, more than double the 3.8 percent forecast for this year, the West African regional central bank BCEAO has estimated.
Locals of Zinder town near the refinery said the in favour of the project, which is expected to bring jobs to local men in the area.
"I'm very happy with the refinery of petrol in my country because its something that will develop our economy," said resident Sani Mamane.
Though for others, particularly the town's motorbike taxi drivers the priority is less about where the oil comes from and more about keeping costs low for consumers.
"The price (of fuel) is too expensive, it's too expensive," said Sani Arzika.
The West African nation is already one of the world's biggest suppliers of uranium.
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