The Federal Government on Thursday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Republic of Niger for the transportation and storage of petroleum products.

In a statement by the Group General Manager/Special Adviser on Media to the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Garba Deen Muhammad, said the MoU was reached following bilateral agreements between President Muhammadu Buhari and President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger.

Muhammad explained that talks had been on-going between the two countries for over four months. According to him, the discussion has been 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.

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The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Mele Kyari signed the MoU on behalf of Nigeria while Alio Toune, Director-General of Niger Republic’s National Oil Company, Societe Nigerienne De Petrole, signed on behalf of his country.

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.

He said, “This is a major step forward. Niger Republic has some excess products which needs to be evacuated. Nigeria has the market for these products.

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“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.”

In his comment, the Secretary General of African Petroleum Producers Organisation, 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.

He said, “I want to commend the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Republic of Niger and their leadership for this milestone.”

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Niger Republic’s Soraz Refinery in Zinder is said to be located some 260 kilometres from the Nigerian border with an installed refining capacity of 20,000 barrels per day.

The country’s total Niger’s domestic requirement is about 5,000 barrels per day, BPD, thus leaving a huge surplus of about 15,000 bpd, mostly for export.

By Peace Obi

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