(EnergyAsia, December 28 2011, Wednesday) — China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) said it has started up an upstream, a pipeline and a refinery in the West African nation of Niger in recent months.

Over the last three years, CNPC said it has undertaken an integrated approach in developing Niger’s oil industry and economy by substantially boosting high-quality crude oil reserves in the Agadem region, and constructing an onsite production facility, a 462-km oil pipeline and a one-million-tonne/year oil refinery.

As part of the expanding Sino-Niger ties, China has agreed to further develop the impoverished African country’s oil infrastructure. CNPC will continue its efforts to develop the 28,000-sq km Agadem block, located more than 1500 km from the capital city of Niamey.

To mark the success of the project, Niger’s President Mahamadou Issoufou and CNPC chairman Jiang Jiemin attended a ceremony in the southern city of Zinder to celebrate the completion of the integrated Agadem project and the inauguration of the Zinder refinery.

CNPC has promised to promote Nigeria’s economic and social development by creating jobs, training Nigerien employees to become key technical and management personnel, encouraging the development of local industries and service enterprises, participating in the country’s public welfare programmes, and providing funds and materials for water and electricity supply.

CNPC said: “The economic development in Zinder region faces great challenge due to the arid climate. However, the establishment of the Zinder refinery will bring new opportunities to local development. In addition to meeting domestic demand, the products of the refinery will be exported to neighbouring countries. An independent and complete structure of petroleum industry is taking shape in Niger.”