The Nigerian government, through the ministry of petroleum resources, has signed a memorandum of understanding with the government of Niger Republic for petroleum products importation.
According to a statement released by the ministry, Soraz Refinery in Zinder, Niger Republic, has an installed refining capacity of 20,000 barrels per day compared to the nation’s 5,000bpd domestic requirement.
This leaves a surplus of 15,000 barrels per day.
Mele Kyari, group managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), signed the MoU on behalf of Nigeria while Alio Toune, director-general of Niger Republic’s National Oil Company, Societe Nigerienne De Petrole (SONIDEP), signed on behalf of his country.
The signing was witnessed by the ministers of state for petroleum of the two countries, Timipre Sylva for Nigeria and Foumakoye Gado for Niger Republic.
“This is a major step forward. The Niger Republic has some excess products which need to be evacuated. Nigeria has the market for these products. Therefore, this is going to be a win-win relationship for both countries,” Sylva said.
“My hope is that this is going to be the beginning of deepening trade relations between Niger Republic and Nigeria.”
In his remarks, 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 have 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 a detailed MoU between our two companies so that we can continue the execution process immediately.”
Nigeria currently imports refined petroleum products despite having four refineries. As a result, scarce forex is spent to ensure that there is no scarcity in the country.
Government officials have expressed hopes that the 350,000 capacity Dangote refinery being constructed will end the era of petroleum products importation in Nigeria.