NIAMEY, Feb 12 (Reuters) - Niger has made a new crude oil discovery estimated at about 43 million barrels in its Bilma field, the president of the West African nation said on late Wednesday.
A major uranium miner but one of Africa’s poorest nations, Niger started pumping oil in 2011 from its Agadem bloc, a joint project with China National Petroleum Company (CNPC).
Mahamadou Issoufou said the Bilma reserves will be exploited in the same framework as Agadem. Reserves at Agadem, some 1,600 km (1,000 miles) east of the capital Niamey, have been estimated at over 650 million barrels.
An official at Niger’s oil ministry told Reuters on Monday that crude from Bilma will be transported to Agadem. From there it will also be shipped through a pipeline under construction which will link to the Chad-Cameroon pipeline.
Niger has signed deals with both Cameroon and Chad which will allow it to export crude from Agadem to Cameroon’s Atlantic coast. The pipeline is expected to be completed by the third quarter of 2016, the official said. (Reporting by Abddoulaye Massalaki; Writing by Bate Felix; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)