The Federal Government of Nigeria and the Republic of Niger have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for petroleum products transportation and storage,” the Ministry of Petroleum Resources explained in a statement.
Following bilateral agreements between President Muhammadu Buhari and President Mahamadou Issoufou, talks have been on-going between 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.
Niger Republic’s Soraz Refinery in Zinder, some 260km from the Nigerian border, has an installed refining capacity of 20,000 barrels per day.
Niger’s total domestic requirement is about 5,000bpd, thus leaving a huge surplus of about 15,000 bpd, mostly for export.
A statement by the GGM/SA Media to the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Garba Deen Muhammad, explaned 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 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.
“This is a major step forward. Niger Republic has some excess products which needs to be evacuated. Nigeria has the market for these products. Therefore, this is going to be a win-win relation for both countries. My hope is that this is going to be the beginning of deepening trade relations between Niger Republic and Nigeria,” the Minister added.
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Also commenting on the development, the Secretary General of African Petroleum Producers Organisation (APPO), Dr. Omar Ibrahim, 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.
“I want to commend the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Republic of Niger and their leadership for this milestone.
Kyari 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.
“With this development, we hope to have a long-lasting and sustainable commercial framework to having a pipeline from the Soraz Refinery in Zinder (Niger) into the most proximate Nigerian city so that we can develop a depot.
“We are happy that we have reached that conclusion and our two ministers have endorsed this framework. We are also working on detailed MoU between our two companies so that we can continue the execution process immediately.”
Daily Times also gathered that NNPC pledged to support SONIDEP in terms of training and capacity building.