The federal government of Nigeria has taken a bold step towards resolving the challenge posed by the continued importation of refined petroleum products as it signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Republic of Niger.
The MOU will see a project that will facilitate the construction of a 100,000 – 150,000 barrels capacity refinery to be located in Katsina State.
The signing ceremony held at the presidential villa, Abuja, was witnessed by President Muhammadu Buhari and his counterpart from the Republic of Niger, Mahamadou Issoufou.
The project is estimated to cost about $2 billion (over N700 billion) according to the founder of Black oil Energy Refinery, Ibrahim Zakari.
According to him, his company will spearhead the first 100 per cent privately driven refinery in the north, which is projected to provide over 2,500 direct jobs and over 10,000 indirect employment opportunities not only to the state but Nigeria in general.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, says the approved private sector driven Refinery in Mashi, Katsina State will be completed in 2021.
In an address at the ceremony, President Muhammadu Buhari noted that Nigeria saw the cooperation as a win-win situation for both nations as a refinery would be constructed in Katsina while the stranded crude from Niger would find market in Nigeria.
“Nigeria and Niger have excellent relations for several decades, as neighbours sharing a long border with common cultural and historical ties. “Nigeria sees this cooperation on crude oil export from the Republic of Niger and construction of refinery facilities in Katsina State as a win-win for both nations. “The initiative will not only provide a reliable market for the stranded crude from the Niger Republic but will also provide petroleum products for Nigeria, as it aggressively pursues its aspiration on petroleum product self-sufficiency,” President Buhari said.