Damilola Shittu — Abuja
The government of Saudi Arabia has expressed readiness to sign a memorandum of understanding with Nigeria for the revamp of Nigerian refineries and for the construction of a new one.
This was revealed by the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources. It said based on the proposed MoU, Saudi Arabia had expressed its intention to also invest in liquified natural gas in Nigeria, as well as product supply trading in crude and refined products.
The Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Khalid Al-Falih, said his country was ready to partner Nigeria in developing the selected infrastructure in Nigeria’s oil sector.
The FMPR said in a statement issued on Friday in Abuja that the early draft of the MoU that would solidify the new oil and gas development partnership between Nigeria and Saudi Africa would be ready in the first week of May 2019.
The ministry stated that the Saudi minister made this known during a high level bilateral meeting with Nigeria’s Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, in Riyadh.
Al-Falih stated that his team would undertake the task of drafting an outline of the MoU in consonance with Nigeria and consequently move through the bureaucratic channels of getting the requisite approvals and endorsements.
The Organisation of Oil Exporting Countries Governors for the two countries, Adeeb Al-Aama of Saudi Arabia and Omar Farouk of Nigeria were nominated to fasttrack the process for its official endorsements and signing.
“The agreement will in principle open the doors for Nigeria to potentially benefit from Saudi Arabia and Saudi Aramco’s recent aggressive oil sector investments across the globe,” the FMPR stated.
It added, “Areas of interest will cover existing refinery revamp, building of a brand new refinery, LNG investments and product supply trading in crude and refined products. Al-Falih also reiterated the possibility of establishing an independent refinery in Nigeria as the country considers Nigeria as the best hub to reach other African countries.”
Kachikwu expressed expectation that the signing of the MoU would further cement the cordial relationship between both countries, as he noted that the two lead persons for the MoU drafting were seasoned OPEC governors with the highest levels of competence.
This came as the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on Friday described as untrue insinuations that plans were afoot to relocate its gas marketing subsidiary, Nigerian Gas Marketing Company Limited, from Warri to Abuja.
The national oil company also stated that the purported plans to spend N120m as yearly rent and another N294m to relocate NGMC to Abuja were false and should be discountenanced by members of the public.
NNPC’s Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Ndu Ughamadu, said the clarification came in the wake of a misleading report on the purported relocation and allocation of the huge sums of money for that purpose as broadcast in the social media by a group.