NIAMEY Aug 3 Niger has discovered more oil in its eastern Agadem oil fields and the outlook in the northern Bilma block is positive, the president said late on Thursday, without giving any further details.
Agadem is drilled by the China National Petroluem Corporation (CNPC) which also works Bima in partnership with Canadain TVI Pacific's TG World.
Niger, a major uranium miner but one of Africa's poorest nations, joined the continent's club of oil-producing countries when it started pumping oil last year from Agadem in a joint project with CNPC.
Reserves at Agadem, 1,600 km (1,000 miles) east of Niamey, have until now been estimated at 650 million barrels.
"I would like to take advantage of this occaison to inform you that new discoveries have been made, allowing us to increase the oil reserves at Agadem and the outlook for Bilma is very good," President Mahamadou Issoufou said in an independence day speech to the nation on state television.
Oil from Agadem feeds a 20,000 barrel per day refinery in Zinder, 700 km to the west. But Niger is in talks with Chad and Cameroon to export its crude oil out through the two fellow oil-producing nations in Central Africa.
Last month it awarder nine production sharing agreements to five oil firms as it seeks to expand its partners.
"So, Niger has a bright future when it comes to oil," Issoufou said.