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Deby hails 'gift from China' bringing energy independence
by Staff Writers
Ndjamena (AFP) June 29, 2011

Chadian President Idriss Deby Itno on Wednesday proclaimed his country's energy independence as he inaugurated production at an oil refinery which he described a "gift from China".

"You have your energy independence. You don't have to go elsewhere to get your oil products. You will even supply the sub-region," he said.

"This jewel is a gift from China to which you owe gratitude," the president said.

"This is a win-win partnership. Through this cooperation it's another image of China which is emerging in Africa in general, and particularly in Chad," he added.

Energy-hungry China has boosted its presence in Africa in recent years, primarily in a bid to guarantee oil supplies for its rapidly growing economy.

The Djarmaya refinery, located 40 kilometres (25 miles) north of the Chadian capital Ndjamena, will produce 20,000 barrels a day and will be supplied from oil wells in the southern Bongor region through as a 311-kilometre pipeline.

"In case of greater demand, we can hike production to 60,000 barrels a day," said the deputy head of the Ndjamena refinery company, Ahmat Gadam.

Chad, which only began to produce oil in 2003, currently produces on average around 120,000 barrels per day, according to Infrastructures Minister Adoum Younoussmi.

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