The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, said on Friday Nigeria would restart fuel importation from the neighbouring Niger Republic to meet local energy needs.
Sylva, who disclosed this in a statement by the ministry, said the two countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on petroleum storage and transportation on Thursday.
He said: “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 relation for both countries.”
Soraz Refinery in Zinder, Niger, lying about 260 kilometres away from Nigerian border, possesses the capacity to refine 20,000 barrels of crude per day, which is higher than the country’s consumption needs.
“Niger’s total domestic requirement is about 5,000 bpd, thus leaving a huge surplus of about 15,000 bpd, mostly for export,” the statement added.
The Nigerian four refineries with a combined capacity to process 445,000 barrels of crude per day had been shut down for revamp.
According to the statement, the MoU was signed by the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Melee Kyari, and the Director-General of Niger’s national oil corporation, SONIDEP, Alio Toune.
Kyari said the two countries had established bilateral engagements for about five months towards resuming the oil importation deal between them.
“With this development, we hope to have a long-lasting and sustainable commercial framework to having a pipeline from the Soraz Refinery in Zinder (Niger) into the most proximate Nigerian city so that we can develop a depot,” the NNPC chief stated.