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Niger Suspends Oil Export to China Over Row with Benin

Niger has halted oil exports to China via its pipeline to Benin’s coast, intensifying the dispute between the neighboring West African states. Oil Minister Mahamane Moustapha Barke Bako oversaw the shutdown at the Agadem oilfield, stopping the $400 million export agreement with China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC). Relations soured when Benin blocked Niger’s crude exports in May and demanded that Niger reopen its border to Benin’s goods. After a brief period when normalcy had seemingly been restored, the row flared again when Benin detained five Niger nationals, accusing them of entering a pipeline terminal under false pretenses. Niger denied these allegations, stating that the detainees were only supervising crude loading in line with its agreement with Benin. According to Minister Bako, Benin’s actions necessitated the halting of oil exports as it could be stealing Niger’s oil given it has no representative to ensure otherwise.

SOURCE: REUTERS