Nigerien Energy Security: A 6 Month Outlook

Niger is set to become an energy lynchpin in the African market. Chinese investment in Niger spurred a flurry of construction projects. Some have stalled while others have progressed. In the meanwhile, Niger hosts several terrorist groups which could threaten the security of future energy investments. As a developing nation with weak institutional frameworks and security architecture, Niger may prove to be an energy liability rather than an asset. 

KJ-1: It is highly likely that the Niger-Benin Oil Pipeline will be completed in the next 6 months. 

  • The Niger-Benin pipeline will be Africa’s longest oil pipeline. It will run from the newly discovered Agadem oil field in Niger to Benin’s port of Seme [source].
  • After the government eased COVID restrictions and the global economy re-opened, CNPC redoubled construction efforts [source].
  • The pipeline is over 51% complete, with 600 km of pipeline already laid [source]. 
  • Boko Haram, Islamic State and al-Qaeda affiliated groups operate in the Niger-Benin border region, potentially threatening the physical security of the pipeline and construction crews [source].  
  • Militants attacked a customs office in Malanville near the Niger-Benin border [source]. 
  • Accordingly, nearly 700 soldiers are on permanent deployment near and around the pipeline construction area [source].  
  • Nigerien President Mohamed Bazoum announced plans to establish a purpose-built battalion which will patrol the Niger-Benin border [source]. 
  • The governments of Benin and Niger signed a cooperation agreement for counterterrorism operations and intelligence sharing [source].  
  • The city of Dosso itself hosts 500 heavily armed and French-trained troops grouped into a rapid response battalion [source].  

KJ-2: It is highly likely that Chinese energy investment in Niger will accelerate in the next 6 months.

  • The Niger-Benin oil pipeline is funded by the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) [source].
  • According to the Nigerien Oil Ministry, the total value of the investment in the Niger-Benin pipeline stands at  $6 billion, the largest such investment in Niger’s history [source].  
  • CNPC uses pre-existing pipelines to transport crude to Zinder. CNPC fully owns the Agadem oil fields[source]. The pipelines in turn feed the Soraz refinery, a jointly owned venture between Niger and China [source].
  • President Bazoum chastised western nations for complaining about the close relationship between China and Niger [source].
  • China is Niger’s most important source of foreign direct investment, with the two countries have signed bilateral trade agreements and maintaining a trade commission [source].
  • China provides the second largest financial consideration for Niger’s uranium mining industry [source]. 
  • Niger the main African purchaser of Chinese commodities [source]. 

KJ-3: It is likely that Nigerien uranium industry will rebound in the next 6 months. 

  • Production levels consistently fell over the last 10 years, despite Niger’s traditional role as a major uranium producer, [source]. 
  • Global Atomic, a Canadian uranium mining firm, signed a deal with a US company to sponsor the development of a uranium mine in Niger [source]. 
  • The US Senate introduced a legislative package which would authorize $3.5 billion for nuclear fuel development such as the Global Atomic contract in order to facilitate the production of non-Chinese or Russian nuclear fuels [source]. 
  • Another Canadian mining company, GoviEx, will move ahead with the $343 million Madaouela uranium mining project, set to produce over 50 million lbs of triuranium octoxide over the next 19 years [source]. 
  • Myriad Metals, also Canadian, signed an option agreement in August with Loxcroft Resources for the Tim Mersoi Basin [source]. 
  • That same month, the government of Niger increased its stake in the Dasa uranium mining project with Global Atomic to 20% [source].
  • Although most of these projects will fully materialize in over a year’s time, the government is capitalizing on the sanctions regime with Russia to boost nuclear fuel production and exploration [source]. 
  • Global Atomic has already broken ground in Dasa and entered into a deal with Orano to ship raw uranium ore to Orano’s Somaïr mine in Arlit [source].

A hybrid power plant consisting of diesel and solar panels is under construction for the Dasa mining operation [source].

Intelligence Cut-Off Date 27 October 2022

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