Nigeria is beginning to look towards its neighbours to solve its crude oil refining problem and the Republic of Niger is coming to establish a refinery in Katsina.  

Niger Republic is one nation that has shared Nigeria's trouble, supplying some troops to the nation when Boko Haram activities in the northeast is at its climax. 

On Tuesday, both nations reached an agreement on crude oil export from the Republic of Niger and the construction of the refinery.

At a ceremony organised in Abuja, Nigeria's capital, for the signing of the agreement, President Muhammadu Buhari described it as a win-win for both nations. 

Nigeria, Niger Republic Agree On Refinery Construc
Top government officials from Republic of Niger and Nigeria

He said: "Let me begin by welcoming you and your delegation to Abuja on behalf of the Government and people of Nigeria and to also thank you for considering Nigeria as a partner on this mutually beneficial strategic initiative.

"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.

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"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".

The Nigerian leader further expressed hopes that the current frontier exploration efforts in the Northern part of the country (Chad Basin, Gongola Basin, Sokoto Basin, Bida Basin and Benue trough) would also result in the provision of additional hydrocarbon inflow to the corridors of the proposed pipeline and a potential refinery around Kaduna axis.

"I am happy that several productive engagements held between the Nigerian and Nigerien authorities have resulted in the positive agreements to progress with activities on this important project."

Nigeria, Niger Republic Agree On Refinery Construc
The President of Niger, H.E. Issoufou Mahamadou and President Muhammadu Buhari

A speech by President Buhari at the event made public by his spokesman, Femi Adesina, said the project would be private sector driven with the full support of the governments of both countries. 

"I am happy to understand that several expressions of interest from prospective investors are already being received.

"In this regard, a Steering Committee has been set up to be chaired by the Nigerian Minister of State for Petroleum Resources and the alternate chairman is the Nigerien Minister of Petroleum, to provide strategic leadership, direction and governance oversight for the project.

"Further to this, a Senior level Joint Technical Team is carefully selected based on competence to develop the implementation road-map and strategy on both the refinery and pipeline projects.

"This team will be led by Nigeria’s Engineer Rabiu Suleiman supported by the DG Hydrocarbon of Niger Republic," President Buhari told the gathering of top government officials from both nations.

Nigeria and Niger agree on Refinery Construction i
Niger Republic Minister of Energy, Mr Foumakoye Gado, and Nigerian Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu

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He expects that by December 2018, the group would have come up with a detailed road-map and guideline leading to actual execution of the projects.

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The detailed road-map should cover the following: " Bankable feasibility studies for both the Refinery and pipeline projects, optimal project site, pipeline routes and details, security plan and selected consortia of investors for both the refinery and pipeline projects".

President Buhari further assured the Nigerien government that Nigeria would remain committed to pursuing the partnership with vigour and determination.

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