The Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, H.E. Khalid bin Abdulaziz Al-Falih, has expressed the readiness of his country to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Nigeria on oil and gas infrastructure.
Al-Falih communicated the blessings of the King of Saudi Arabia, Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, and the Crown Prince, H.R.H. Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, for the partnership investment while announcing their readiness to sign the MoU with the Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari.
According to him, the early draft of the MoU that will solidify the new oil and gas development partnership between Nigeria and Saudi Africa will be ready in the first week of May, 2019.
The Saudi Minister made this known during a high level bilateral meeting with Nigeria’s Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu on Wednesday in Riyadh.
He stated that his team will undertake the task of drafting an outline of the MOU in consonance with Nigeria and consequently move through the bureaucratic channels of getting the requisite approvals and endorsements.
The Organisation of Oil Exporting Countries (OPEC) governors for the two countries, Eng. Adeeb Y. Al-Aama (Saudi Arabia) and Dr. Omar Farouk Ibrahim (Nigeria) have already been nominated to fast track the process for official endorsements and signing.
The Ministry of Petroleum Resources made this disclosure in a statement on Friday.
According to the statement, “the agreement will in principle open the doors for Nigeria to benefit from Saudi Aramco’s recent aggressive oil sector investments across the globe.
Areas of interest will cover existing refinery revamp, building of a brand new refinery, LNG investments and product supply trading in crude and refined products.
H.E Khalid Al Falih also reiterated the possibility of establishing an independent refinery in Nigeria as the country considers Nigeria the best hub to reach other African countries.”
Nigeria and Saudi Arabia has over the decades enjoyed a robust bilateral relationship with the Nigerian delegation to the holy land pilgrimage among the highest globally amidst the common heritage of being abundantly blessed with oil and gas deposits.
Kachikwu expressed his expectation that the definite signing of the MoU will further cement the cordial relationship between both nations.
He stated that the visit to Saudi Arabia became necessary due to the common grounds between the two countries and the success of the country in the oil and gas sector.
Kachikwu said Nigeria aimed to leverage on the huge success of the Saudi government in the sector while name-checking Saudi Aramco’s turnover of over $200 billion in the last year.
He further applauded the cooperation between Nigeria and Saudi Arabia, expressing excitement that the two leading persons for the MoU drafting are seasoned OPEC governors with the highest levels of competence.
Dr. Kachikwu who led a high powered delegation drawn from the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Department of Petroleum Resources, Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency and Petroleum Equalization Fund for an exploratory visit to the oil rich nation at the invitation of his Saudi counterpart, Al Falih, visited the Saudi Aramco Headquarters in Dhahran where his delegation was met by the President and Chief Executive Officer of Saudi Aramco, Amin H. Nasser, and the top management of the conglomerate.
The visit was aimed at crystallizing the ongoing discussions on collaborating with the Federal Government of Nigeria on investments in the oil and gas sector.
By John OFIKHENUA,