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Niger Halts oil Exports To China Amid Benin Pipeline Dispute

NIGER has ceased oil exports to China through its pipeline to Benin’s coast, announced Oil Minister Mahamane Moustapha Barke Bako on Thursday, escalating an ongoing standoff between the West African neighbours.

At the Agadem oilfield in eastern Niger, Minister Barke Bako oversaw the padlocking of a section of the 2,000-km (1,243-mile) pipeline intended to transport oil to China under a $400 million memorandum of understanding with China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC).


Relations between Niger and Benin have been strained since May, when Benin blocked crude exports via its port, demanding that Niger’s junta reopen its border to Beninese goods and normalize relations.

Earlier in June, Benin authorities detained five Niger nationals for allegedly entering the Seme-Kpodji pipeline terminal under false pretences—a charge Niger rejected, stating the group was supervising crude loading per their agreement with Benin.

‘We can’t just sit back while our oil is stolen by other people, because we’re not there where it’s loaded,’ Minister Barke Bako told workers, justifying the halt in oil flows, according to a state television broadcast.

Tensions date back to a coup in Niger in July 2023, which led to the regional bloc ECOWAS imposing strict sanctions for over six months. While trade flows were expected to normalise after ECOWAS lifted sanctions, Niger has kept its borders closed to goods from Benin.

This development marks a significant escalation in the trade and border disputes between Niger and Benin, with potential impacts on regional stability and economic relations.

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