Today, President Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR) of Nigeria and his counterpart, the President of the Republic of Niger, Mahamadou Issoufou oversaw the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding for the Niger/Nigeria Hydrocarbon Pipeline & Refinery Projects & Inauguration of the Steering and Technical Committees.
This epoch-making signing is part of the strategies to reposition Nigeria’s Oil & Gas Industry. It may be recalled that a roadmap of short and medium term priorities tagged the #7BigWins was developed by the Dr. Emmanuel I. Kachikwu led team at the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and launched by President Muhammadu Buhari in October 2016.
The fourth initiative of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources #7BigWins is the “Refinery and Local Production Capacity”, part of which has to do with the establishment of third party financed Greenfield refineries to improve domestic petroleum products sufficiency in the Nation.
The proposed projects for the construction of crude oil pipelines from Republic of Niger to Nigeria and establishment of new refinery at a border town in Nigeria is envisaged to be wholly private sector financed and the proposed Crude Oil Export from the Republic of Niger and Construction of Refinery Facilities posit immense benefits and opportunities for Nigeria.
A quick summary of general benefits to be derived from these projects by both countries are enormous and include the following:
1. Improved economic activities and bilateral relations between Nigeria and Republic of Niger.
2. Generation of more employment for the citizens.
3. Petroleum Product availability in Nigeria/Niger on structured legal framework.
4. Less carnage on our roads and deterioration (damage) to the road infrastructure.
5. Foster the development of small and medium scale industries through backward and forward linkages.
6. Socio economic development of the rural areas through provision of social amenities by the refinery developments.
7. Fostering of downstream value chain business opportunities, etc.
The refining opportunity in Nigeria is a great initiative. Its impact transcends economic gains for investors and entrepreneurs asides the potential contributions to national development. The projects will increase trade between Nigeria and Niger by giving access to each other’s markets and opening the markets to other successful industries which will create additional jobs.