Nigeria, Africa’s biggest oil producer to import petrol from Niger Republic
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Nigeria, Africa’s biggest oil producer, is set to resume imports of petroleum products from the neighbouring country, Niger Republic.
This was disclosed at the Memorandum of Understanding, MOU, between the two countries on petroleum products transportation and storage which was facilitated by the Ministry of Petroleum Resources.
Present at the signing of the MOU ceremony includes Mele Kyari, MD of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Alio Toune, Director-General of SONIDEP representing Niger’s petroleum agency and Omar Ibrahim, the Secretary-General of the African Petroleum Producers Organisation.
Others are Timipre Sylva and Foumakoye Gado who are Ministers of State for Petroleum for both countries.
Soraz Refinery located in Zinder, Niger which is a joint venture between the China National Petroleum Corporation, CNPC, and the Nigerien government has a capacity of 20,000 barrels per day and started production in 2011.
The refinery was built using a $980 million loan secured by the Nigerien government from China’s Exim bank and refinanced in 2012 at an interest rate of 2 per cent over 20 years.
“Niger’s total domestic requirement is about 5,000bpd, thus leaving a huge surplus of about 15,000 barrels per day, mostly for export,” a section of the document stated.
Nigeria currently boasts of the second-largest crude oil reserves in Africa with an estimated 37 billion barrels while Niger has 150 million barrels of proven oil reserves as of 2016.
However, between 2013 to 2015, Nigeria had spent $396 million to carry out turnaround maintenance for four of its refineries without a tangible result.
Speaking, at the signing of the MOU Sylva said the Niger Republic had excess crude oil constituents which would benefit the Nigerian market.
“This is a major step forward. Niger Republic has some excess products which need to be evacuated and Nigeria has the market for these products. Therefore, this is going to be a win-win relationship for both countries,” Sylva said.
Kyari said the two countries had had long engagements in the last four to five months with a view to restoring the importation of petroleum products (excess production) from Niger into Nigeria.
“With this development, we hope to have a long-lasting and sustainable commercial framework to having a pipeline from the Soraz Refinery in Zinder (Niger) into the most proximate Nigerian city so that we can develop a depot,”he said.