Buhari Lauds Moves To Import Crude Oil From Niger To Nigeria

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President Muhammadu Buhari
By; SUNDAY ODE, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari Tuesday lauded the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to export crude oil from Niger to Nigeria and construction of refinery facilities.
Both President Buhari and his Nigerien counterpart, Issofou Mahamadou witnessed the signing ceremony at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Nigeria’s Minister of State for Petroleum Ibe Kachikwu and his Nigerien counterpart signed the document on behalf of their respective countries.
In an address at the ceremony, President Buhari noted that Nigeria saw the cooperation as a win-win for both nations as a refinery would be constructed in Katsina, while the stranded crude from Niger would find market in Nigeria.

“Nigeria and Niger have excellent relations for several decades, as neighbours sharing a long border with common cultural and historical ties.

“Nigeria sees this cooperation on crude oil export from the Republic of Niger and construction of refinery facilities in Katsina State as a “win – win” for both nations.

“The initiative will not only provide a reliable market for the stranded crude from the Niger Republic but will also provide petroleum products for Nigeria, as it aggressively pursues its aspiration on petroleum product self-sufficiency,” President Buhari said.

He also expressed hope that the current frontier exploration efforts in the Northern part of the country (Chad Basin, Gongola Basin, Sokoto Basin, Bida Basin and Benue trough) would also result in the  provision of  additional hydrocarbon inflow to the corridors of the proposed pipeline and a potential refinery around Kaduna axis.

“This project will be private sector driven with the full support of the governments of both countries and I am happy to understand that several expressions of interest from prospective investors are already being received,” Buhari also stated.

He announced that a Steering Committee had been set up to be chaired by the Nigerian Minister of State for Petroleum Resources with the Nigerien Minister of Petroleum as alternate Chairman, to provide strategic leadership, direction and governance oversight for the project.

Buhari added: “It is my expectation that by December 2018, this group will come up with a detailed roadmap and guideline leading to actual execution of the projects.

“The detailed roadmap should cover the following:

a.                Bankable feasibility studies for both the Refinery and pipeline projects;

b.               Optimal project site, pipeline routes and details;

c.                Security plan;

d.               Selected consortia of investors for both the refinery and pipeline projects.”

On his part, the Niger Republic. president said the signing of the memorandum constituted the basis for mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries.
He noted that Nigeria and Niger shared common problems and should therefore share solutions.
“Africa will only to develop if they  work together. We know what to do. We only need to move into taking meaningful actions. We are trying to develop the value chain for our mineral resources and product.
“We would be happy to see barrels of crude oil refined in Niger and exported to Nigeria,” he said.
Founder of Blackoil Energy Ibrahim Zakari Talia who was also at the briefing ceremony said his company was ready to about two billion dollars in the project.
 “We are one of the investors who are willing to invest almost 2bn dollars.  The funds are coming from abroad, US, Canada, India and the Middle East. It’s going to be a 50 thousand barrel refinery then we will scale it up to 100 thousand with the crude coming from Niger Republic,” he said.

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