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Timipre Sylva

The Federal Government (FG) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Niger Republic on the importation of petroleum products.

It said this followed a bilateral agreement between Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari and President Mahamadou Issoufou.

This was disclosed in a statement issued by Garba Deen Muhammad, Media aide to the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr Timipre Sylva.

According to the statement, both countries have been in talks for over four months – through the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Niger Republic’s National Oil Company, Societe Nigerienne De Petrole (SONIDEP), on petroleum products transportation and storage.

It explained that Niger Republic’s Soraz Refinery in Zinder, which is 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,” it stated.

The statement further quoted the Minister as describing the development as another huge step in developing trade relations between both countries.

“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. My hope is that this is going to be the beginning of deepening trade relations between the Niger Republic and Nigeria,” he said.

In his remarks, the GMD NNPC, Mallam Mele 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 detailed MoU between our two companies so that we can continue the execution process immediately,” he said.

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