YAOUNDE, Cameroon -(Dow Jones)- The China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC) and the Cameroon government have agreed that the Chinese firm will ship its crude from Chad through Cameroon by the end of 2012, a top Cameroonian official involved in the talks told Dow Jones Newswires Monday.
"With negotiations near completion, Chadian government authorities have reached an agreement which authorizes the Chinese company to start shipping its crude oil from Chad through the Chad-Cameroon pipeline," said the official, who is member of the Cameroon-based Pipeline Pilot Steering and Monitoring Committee in Yaounde.
"This is because CNPC will start production by this year's end and wants to benefit from the existing Chad-Cameroon pipeline," added the source, who preferred speaking on condition of anonymity.
Last talks between CNPC and the Cameroon Oil Transport Co., the Tchad Oil Transportation Company (TOTCO), and Exxon Chad were held last November.
TOTCO manages the 1,080-kilometer pipeline that runs from southern Chad and terminates at Cameroon's Atlantic coastal town of Kribi.
Since its operations began in October 2003, the Chad-Cameroon has been shipping crude produced by American oil giant Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM) , Chevron Corp. (CVX) and Malaysia'sPetroliam Nasional Bhd. to date.
China's CNPC had begun oil and gas exploration for seven-expectant oil wells in Chad in since 2003.
Also, Canada'sGriffiths Energy International Inc. is also in talks with Cameroon authorities to ship crude through the same pipeline.
Griffiths Energy won three permits in 2011 to explore and develop oil in southern Chad, the official had told Dow Jones Newswires last month.
As it is still in the exploration stage it is unclear how much crude Griffiths would be seeking to ship through the pipeline, the official had said.
Some 37 million barrels of Chadian crude were shipped through the pipeline in 2011, around the same amount as were shipped in 2010. Potential alternative routes for Chad crude include north to Libya, or south to Republic of Congo through Central African Republic, although no infrastructure exists on either of these routes.
-By Emmanuel Tumanjong, contributing to Dow Jones Newswires; +237-9655-6261; firstname.lastname@example.org