Emmanuel Ibeh Kachikwu,Nigeria’s deputy Minister of Petroleum resources has confirmed that Nigeria’s petroleum downstream sub-sector, especially refineries, pipelines and others would soon witnessed an overhaul following a new bilateral relationship being developed by Nigeria and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Kachikwu, who spoke of the huge opportunities in the nation’s oil sector, asked the Kingdom to explore areas of cooperation and collaboration in downstream – refineries and Petrochemicals, gas and mid-Stream Infrastructure.
Affirming his country’s commitments,the Minister of Energy Industry and Mineral Resources of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Khalid Al Falih, in Riyadh expressed the country’s readiness to invest in Nigeria’s petroleum and other African countries as part of efforts to expand business operations.
While Al Falih had earlier hinted on the Kingdom’s interest in Nigeria during a visit to the country last year, the development was renewed as the President Muhammadu Buhari sends a delegation headed by Nigeria’s Minister of State for Petroleum Resources,
Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu to explore wide areas of mutual collaboration especially in the midstream and downstream sector expressed Nigeria’s delight for the budding interest to support Nigeria’s Infrastructure Development in the Oil Sector.
Notably, both countries are major oil producers, Saudi Arabia is world’s key leading oil producers with a remarkable downstream sector and well performing National Oil Company; Aramco.
Speaking on Tuesday at a welcoming dinner, Al Falih, who congratulated President Buhari for his re-election, reassured the country of commitment to boost current bilateral relationship, especially through investment in the nation’s oil and gas sector.
He equally noted that Nigeria’s role remained critical in the stabilization of global oil price as the Organisation Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other allies would be meeting to decide on the outlook of the market, especially production cut.
Kachikwu equally met with top executives of the National Oil Company of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Saudi Aramco in Dhahran to crystallize ongoing discussions on collaborating with Nigeria on investment in the oil and gas sector.
Kachikwu, who was received by the President and Chief Executive Officer of Saudi Aramco, Amin Nasser and the top management of the conglomerate, highlighted the areas of shared investment interests for Saudi Arabia and Nigeria while explicitly presenting the existing gaps in the midstream and downstream sector as viable investment options.
In appreciation of the high level of technological advancement of the National Oil Company, Kachikwu lauded the various showcased technologies that create more value and maximize created value while in a guided tour of the Saudi Aramco facility.
The exploratory partnership visit ended with a firm acceptance by Saudi Aramco to quicken finer conversations with Nigerian firms across the entire oil and gas value chain for mutually beneficial gains.
The energy Ministers would also discuss global oil market development ahead of the Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee of OPEC which will hold in Jeddah early next month.
Nigeria was recently co-opted into the specialised committee at the meeting of the Council in Baku, Azerbaijan.
The elevation of Nigeria to the JMMC was in recognition of the key role Nigeria’s Minister of State and Head of Delegation to OPEC, Kachikwu played in the diplomatic shuttles and negotiations that led to the founding of the Declaration of Cooperation in 2016.
OPEC Governor for Nigeria, Dr. Faruk Umar, who facilitated the engagement with Saudi government, noted that the country remained open to investing massively in Nigeria either in existing refineries or other downstream infrastructure.
Umar however noted that further deliberation and engagement were required to finalise on the plan, adding that further engagement already being planned.
He said: “The President is keenly interested in the rehabilitation of our refineries. And he is looking at taken advantage of the opportunities presented by Saudi Arabia. He was here in 2016 and the government of Saudi had pledged to support the President. Beyond refineries, we are also looking at downstream infrastructure; gas and pipelines. Both to rehabilitate old onces and build new ones.”
HARRISON EDEH, ABUJA