NIGERIA’S federal government has signed an agreement with Niger Republic to resume the resumption of petrol products from her northern neighbour as part of a plan to combat domestic shortages due to limited refining capacity.
Despite being Africa’s largest crude oil producer and the sixth largest exporter in the world, Nigeria is a net importer of petrol because her three refineries in Warri, Port Harcourt and Kaduna have all broken. Until next year when a private refinery being built by Dangote Industries at Lekki in Lagos State comes on stream, Nigeria will remain dependent on imports.
In an attempt to ameliorate the problem, Nigeria has signed a memorandum of understanding with Niger Republic for the transportation and storage of petrol. Under the terms of the agreement, Niger Republic’s Soraz Refinery in Zinder, some 260km from the Nigerian border, which has an installed refining capacity of 20,000 barrels per day, will be the supplier.
Niger’s total domestic requirement is about 5,000 barrels per day, thus leaving a huge surplus of about 15,000 barrels for export. Today’s agreement was signed by the group managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Mallam Mele Kyari and the director-general of Niger Republic’s state-owned corporation Sonidep.
In attendance were the ministers of state for petroleum, Chief Timipre Sylva and Foumakoye Gado, respectively with the secretary-general of the African Petroleum Producers Organisation, Dr Omar Ibrahim, also there. Mallam Kyari said the two countries had had long engagements over the last four to five months with a view to restoring the importation of petroleum products from Niger Republic into Nigeria.
Chief Sylva added: “This is a major step forward. Niger Republic has some excess products which needs to be evacuated and Nigeria has the market for these products, so therefore, this is going to be a win-win relation for both countries.”
Mallam Kyari said: “With this development, we hope to have a long-lasting and sustainable commercial framework to having a pipeline from the Soraz Refinery in Zinder in Niger Republic into the most proximate Nigerian city so that we can develop a depot.”