Benin blocks Niger oil exports over border dispute

Thursday May 09 2024
Benin border

Truck drivers walk as trucks carrying food, humanitarian aid and industrial equipment wait due to sanctions imposed by Niger's regional and international allies, in the border town of Malanville, Benin on August 18, 2023. PHOTO | REUTERS


Benin has blocked exports of oil from Niger via its port, President Patrice Talon said on Wednesday, demanding junta-led Niger reopen its border to Beninois goods and normalise relations before crude shipments can restart.

The move jeopardises landlocked Niger's plan to start exports from its Agadem oilfield under a memorandum of understanding signed last month with Chinese state-owned oil giant China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) worth $400 million.

Trade flows in the region were expected to normalise after the West African regional bloc lifted in February strict sanctions on Niger as it sought to dissuade it and junta-led neighbours Mali and Burkina Faso from withdrawing from the political and economic union.

Read: 'Coup belt’ states test age-old ties with neighbours

But Niger has kept its borders closed to goods from Benin and not formally told Benin why it has done so, Talon said in a statement.

"If you want to load your oil ... in our waters, then you should not see Benin as an enemy," he said.


"If tomorrow the Nigerien authorities decide to collaborate formally with Benin, the ships will be loaded."