Nigeria, Niger sign $2bn hydrocarbon pipeline, refinery

Nigeria, Niger sign $2bn hydrocarbon pipeline, refinery
July 24 20:18 2018

By Ahmed Idris

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, and the Nigerien Minister of Energy, Mr. Foumakaye Gado on Tuesday signed a memorandum of understanding on the construction of a $2 billion hydrocarbon pipeline and refinery.

The event was witnessed by President Muhammadu Buhari and President Mahammadou Issoufou at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

Speaking at the event, President Muhammadu said the cooperation on crude oil export from the Republic of Niger to Nigeria and construction of refinery facilities in Katsina state is “win – win” for the two countries.

He said the initiative would not only provide a reliable market for the stranded crude from the Niger Republic but would also provide petroleum products for Nigeria.

“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.

“In addition, it is my 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) will also result in the provision of additional hydrocarbon inflow to the corridors of the proposed pipeline and a potential refinery around Kaduna axis. I am happy that several productive engagements held between the Nigerian and Nigerien authorities have resulted in the positive agreements to progress with activities on this important project,” he said.

The President said the project would be private sector driven with the full support of the governments of the countries, stressing that already several expressions of interest from prospective investors were received.

The President, who inaugurated Steering and Technical Committees on the construction of the Hydrocarbon Pipeline and the Refinery, said the committees would provide strategic leadership, direction and governance oversight for the projects.

“A Steering Committee has been set up to be chaired by the Nigerian Minister of State for Petroleum Resources and the alternate chairman is the Nigerien Minister of Petroleum, to provide strategic leadership, direction and governance oversight for the project.

“Further to this, a Senior level Joint Technical Team is carefully selected based on competence to develop the implementation roadmap and strategy on both the refinery and pipeline projects. This team will be led by Nigeria’s Engineer Rabiu Suleiman supported by the DG Hydrocarbon of Niger Republic,’’ he said.

The President urged members of the committee to come up with a detailed roadmap and guideline leading to actual execution of the projects by December.

In his remarks, President Mahammadou Issoufou of Republic of Niger, who spoke in French, said the signing of the MoU had constituted the basis for the mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries.

“We share common problems and should also share solutions. Africa will only to develop if we work together and 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 will be happy to see barrels of crude oil refined in Niger and exported to Nigeria,’’ he said.

One of the co-investors of the project and founder of Blak Oil Energy Refinery, Alhaji Ibrahim Zakari, said the refinery would be sited at Mashi in Katsina state and is worth two billion dollars.

He said the project would provide 2,500 direct and another 10,000 indirect employment opportunities to Nigerians.