The Federal Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Republic of Niger for the transportation and storage of petroleum products.
This was disclosed by Alhaji Garba Deen Muhammad, Special Adviser on Media to the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, disclosed this in a statement in Abuja on Thursday saying, the MoU was reached following bilateral agreements between President Muhammadu Buhari and President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger.
According to Muhammad, talks had been on-going between the two countries for over four months – through the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and Niger Republic’s National Oil Company, Societe Nigerienne De Petrole (SONIDEP), on petroleum products transportation and storage.
He explained that Niger Republics Soraz Refinery in Zinder, some 260 kilometres from the Nigerian border, has an installed refining capacity of 20,000 barrels per day, the country’s total domestic requirement is about 5,000 barrels per day, BPD, thus leaving a huge surplus of about 15,000 bpd, mostly for export.
According to Muhammad, the MoU was signed by the GMD NNPC, Mallam Mele Kyari and the Director-General of SONIDEP, Mr. Alio Toune under the supervision of the two countries’ Ministers of State for Petroleum, Çhief Timipre Sylva and Mr Foumakoye Gado, respectively with the Secretary-General of the African Petroleum Producers Organisation (APPO), Dr Omar Farouk Ibrahim in attendance.
Speaking shortly after the MoU signing, Sylva expressed delight over the development, describing it as another huge step in developing trade relations between both countries.
The Secretary-General of African Petroleum Producers Organisation (APPO), Dr Omar Farouk Ibrahim also commenting on the development, said he could not be happier with what he witnessed in terms of co-operation and collaboration between the two APPO member countries in the area of hydrocarbons.
Mallam Mele Kyari, the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, in his remarks, said the two countries have 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.
He said: “With this development, we hope to have a long-lasting and sustainable commercial framework to have a pipeline from the Soraz Refinery in Zinder (Niger) into the most proximate Nigerian city so that we can develop a depot.
The NNPC GMD further noted that being the most experienced of the two oil companies, the NNPC would support SONIDEP in terms of training and capacity building.