The federal government and the Republic of Niger yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for petroleum products transportation and storage.
Nigeria and Niger Republic had been holding talks for over four months through the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Niger Republic's Societe Nigerienne De Petrole on petroleum products transportation and storage.
Niger Republic's Soraz Refinery in Zinder, some 260kilometres from the Nigerian border, has an installed refining capacity of 20,000 barrels per day.
Niger's total domestic requirement is about 5,000bpd, thus leaving a huge surplus of about 15,000bpd, mostly for export.
A statement issued yesterday in Abuja by the media aide to the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr. Garba Deen Muhammad, stated that the MoU was signed by the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mallam Mele Kyari, and the Director-General, SONIDEP, Alio Toune.
The MoU signing was under the supervision of the two countries' Ministers of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva, and Foumakoye Gado, respectively, with the Secretary-General of the African Petroleum Producers Organisation, Mr. Omar Farouk, in attendance.
Sylva expressed delight over the development, describing it as another huge step in developing trade relations between both countries.
He was quoted as saying, "This is a major step forward. 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 relationship for both countries."
Sylva expressed hope that the MoU was going to be the beginning of deepening trade relations between Niger Republic and Nigeria.