By Oke Peter
In its determination aimed at ensuring that Nigerian refineries are functional, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, has said the Federal Government is asking Saudi Aramco for some investment into the nation’s refineries.
Kachikwu stated this on Wednesday while speaking with ‘Bloomberg Daybreak: Americas’ on the sidelines of the Financial Sector Conference, at Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
“We are looking at cooperation along very multi levels. For example, we are asking for some investments into four of our refineries,” he said.
The nation’s refineries, which are located in Port Harcourt, Kaduna and Warri, have a combined installed capacity of 445,000 barrels per day but have continued to operate far below the installed capacity for many years.
The minister added, “We are looking at the potential for Liquefied Natural Gas investment. We are looking at some straight trade deals in terms of our DSDP programme, to see how they (Saudi Arabia) can participate and bring in products into the country.”
The direct sale of crude oil and the direct purchase of products started in 2017. Under the DSDP model, selected overseas refiners, trading companies and indigenous companies are allocated crude supplies in exchange for the delivery of an equal value of petrol and other refined products to the NNPC.
Kachikwu and the President of Saudi Aramco had discussed investment options in the mid and downstream sector, Nigeria’s petroleum ministry said on Wednesday in a tweet.
The ministry, on its Twitter feed, said Kachikwu and Aramco officials including its president discussed “areas of shared investment interests and existing viable investment options in the midstream and downstream sector.”
In another tweet, it said Kachikwu held talks with Saudi Arabia’s energy minister to “cement the budding interest to support Nigeria’s infrastructure development in the oil sector.”
Aramco is expanding downstream operations such as refining and petrochemicals production as part of its drive to become the world’s largest integrated energy firm.
Nigeria imports the bulk of its petrol, despite being Africa’s biggest crude oil producer, due to its dilapidated refineries.
The talks are the latest between Nigerian and Saudi officials. In February, President Muhammadu Buhari said the country – a member of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries – was willing to reduce oil output to help secure higher prices after an envoy from Saudi Arabia called for better adherence to a deal on production cuts.