Minister of Energy and Petroleum of Niger
<< The exploration of our oil and other mineral resources must serve the sustainable development of our country. >>
What are the challenges with the Government after Niger has started hydrocarbon exploration?
Upon swearing, President Issoufou Mahamadou has layed out our country’s strategic vision, which considers oil and mineral resources the main drivers of our economic and social development. Niger has been mining uranium for half a century and the results were not up to the expectations of Nigeriens.
The Government’s challenge is even more strategic as recent oil discoveries today mark a turning point for our country, which must reconcile the imperatives of international competitiveness and sustainable development-oriented towards the basic needs of our people. Energy is at the beginning and the end of the development process, that is the reason the President deemed necessary to create a department to support this extremely important and strategic sector for the national economy. The exploitation of the Agadem block and our current ability to be refining our oil were an important step for our country.
The willingness of the Government of Niger to intensify oil exploration, diversify its partners and to transform the hydrocarbon sector into vector of economic and social development justifies the recent legal and regulatory provisions. Indeed, one of the priorities of our Government's is to achieve good economic governance and this of course applies to oil resources. The challenges of our oil policy are crucial, as they affect economic and social development of our country. This is the reason why we have identified instruments that establish lasting good practices of corporate social responsibility and good governance in the mining and oil sectors. It is for this reason that we have decided, in 2010, to join the Initiative for Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). The exploration of our oil and other mineral resources must serve the sustainable development of our country.
The energy mix of Niger shows that the country has one of the lowest rates of primary energy consumption in the world and the level of energy development is proportional to economic and social development. So the choice of the President Issoufou Mahamadou is to create a department in charge of energy to reflect his desire to radically boost economic and social development of our country through this area.
With the exploration of oil, can we talk about energy independence for Niger?
In fact, the energy independence of a country's ability to meet its energy sources by controlling the production, supply channels and valuation techniques of different forms of energy. The rate of energy independence is the ratio of primary energy produced by a country and the energy consumed in the country. When you begin oil production in a country, it is not enough to declare energy independence and even talk about economic takeoff immediately. In our case, it should be noted that the Zinder refinery has a processing capacity of 20,000 barrels per day of which one third is for domestic consumption.
Renewable energy is abundant and diverse, and they have the advantage of reducing the dependence on finite or imported resources. In Niger, they include, biomass, solar, wind and hydropower. They enhance energy security, even if we are an oil producing country, create jobs and contribute to the fight against poverty by improving access to energy, especially in the case of rural or isolated areas. In particular, there is an urgent need to develop and strengthen strategies to improve sustainable energy supply in order to reduce the over-reliance of the country to oil and the vulnerability of public finances as a result. Stability of energy supply is essential for sustained economic growth and poverty reduction.