Niger Establishes School of Petroleum and Gas

Soukaina Sghir
Soukaina Sghir
3 Min Read
Petroleum

Authorities announced the establishment of a school of petroleum and gas by decree of the Ministry of Higher Education, Research, and Technological Innovation. Extractive industries lie at the heart of Niger’s development strategy, known for its uranium production but increasingly reliant on the commercialization of its petroleum resources.

The objective of the new school, affiliated with the University of Zinder in eastern Niger, is to train executives and engineers in the highly strategic fields of petroleum and gas.

The country’s second-largest university in terms of enrollment already hosts a department in petroleum technology, offering instruction up to the level of a Bachelor’s degree in the areas of exploration and refining. However, the new school will provide comprehensive education covering the entire petroleum production chain, spanning from undergraduate to graduate levels, including engineering degrees and specialized studies for petroleum companies.

While the government decree does not specify a start date for instruction, the selection of Zinder holds significance. The city is located approximately fifty kilometers from the country’s refinery and is conveniently situated near the Agadem oil block, a site for crude oil extraction jointly operated by the China National Petroleum Corporation.

For Dr. Maman Sillimana, a researcher and lecturer at the University of Zinder, the establishment of this school presents an opportunity: “Perhaps the idea is to move towards technology transfer. Maybe in a few years, there will be Nigeriens in all positions taking the lead.”

Currently, Niger produces 110,000 barrels per day, of which 90,000 are slated for export via a giant pipeline to Benin.

Several other countries, such as Senegal in recent years, have implemented comprehensive programs to train individuals in the petroleum and gas sector. These policies demonstrate these countries’ commitment to utilizing their natural resources to develop their economies.

However, this fossil fuel-oriented strategy is not without its detractors. Across the continent, many advocate primarily for the development of renewable energies – Africa possesses vast solar, wind, and hydroelectric potential – to combat the climate change induced by the extraction and use of polluting energy sources. While Africa is the continent with the lowest greenhouse gas emissions (less than 4% of global emissions), it is also the most affected by the numerous impacts of climate change.

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