Benin to resume oil production from offshore fields
BY SERGE-DAVID ZOUEME
COTONOU (Bloomberg) -- Benin is set to resume crude output after South Atlantic Petroleum Ltd., a closely held Nigerian oil company, said it will start pumping the fuel from the country’s Seme fields offshore.
The company, known as Sapetro, will pump 7,500 barrels a day from Seme’s block 1 for 14 years, Executive Vice Chairman Daisy Danjuma said on state-owned television. The country and the company have yet to finalize how output will be shared.
“Benin will be seen as an oil-producing country,” Energy Minister Barthelemy Kassa said, according to a statement from the presidential press office, based in the port city of Cotonou, the commercial capital.
The West African nation’s $7.3 billion economy relies on agriculture including cotton to generate more than a third of total output and provide employment for 70 percent of its workforce, according to the African Development Bank. The country neighbors Nigeria, the continent’s biggest crude producer and most populous nation. Benin’s oil output peaked at 8,000 barrels a day in 1986 and it hasn’t produced since 2004, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
About a 37 percent of Benin’s citizens live in poverty, according to the CIA World Factbook.
Petroleo Brasileiro SA, the biggest oil producer in deep waters, in March said it had sold a stake in Benin’s block 4 to Royal Dutch Shell Plc. In June, Grupo BTG Pactual said it agreed to buy half of Petrobras’s assets in Angola, Benin, Gabon, Namibia, Nigeria and Tanzania for $1.5 billion.