The governments of Niger and Nigeria have agreed in principle to cooperate on building an oil pipeline and refinery.
The refinery would be in Katsina State, northern Nigeria, and would receive crude oil through the pipeline from Niger’s oilfields in the Ténéré desert (pictured).
The memorandum of understanding for the two projects, which are expected to cost about $2bn, was signed by the two countries’ energy ministers and witnessed by President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria and his counterpart from the Republic of Niger, Mahamadou Issoufou. The ceremony took place earlier this week at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
President Buhari said after the ceremony: “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 refinery will be able to process between 100,000 and 150,000 barrels a day, which will make it the third-largest in Nigeria, after the giant, $10bn, 650,000-barrel Dangote refinery, under construction near Lagos, and the 210,000-barrel Port Harcourt refinery. Niger has one 20,000-barrel facility.
Although both governments have set up a steering committee to oversee the scheme, the finance and development will be handled by the private sector.
Alhaji Ibrahim Zakari, a businessman based in Katsina State, is developing the project. He told the local media that his Blackoil Energy company would take the lead in building the refinery and that he would mobilise investment from the US, Canada, India and the Middle East.
He said he expected the project would take five years to complete and would employ more than 2,500 people.
Have you ever heard of Kaita? It is a border town with the Niger Republic; it’s where the NNPC recently announced that International Oil Companies have chosen to donate 21 billion Naira to build a hospital. It is also coincidentally the community where staff housing for the proposed refinery will be situated. It is 3 km to the Nigeria Niger Border.
Ever heard of Agadem? It is an oil field in the Niger Republic from which the Nigerian authorities intend to source the crude oil for the proposed refinery.
Ever head of Mashi?
It is a community near Kaita, also close to the Niger Republic. It is the location for the refinery being built by the Buhari government of Katsina.
If you didn’t know, for the past five years, by an executive order from Abuja, Kaduna, Warri and Port Harcourt I and II refineries have been shut down. Not because something got spoilt, or pipelines got broken. For no justifiable reason, all the refineries were made redundant. Yet, the timeline to complete the Mashi refinery is 2021.
Remember Ibe Kachikwu, the then Minister of State for Petroleum, wrote an open letter that the acting President Yemi Osinbojo and himself were being sidelined by the late Abba Kyari in collaboration with the late Maikanti Baru as they were taking memo’s directly to Buhari in his sick bed in London for approvals after officially handing over the reins of government to the VP when they feared that he was going to die. (didn’t he die?)
It was approvals for the AKK gas pipeline project. To convey gas from Escravos through Ajaokuta to Abuja Kaduna and Kano. Now, the interesting part is that the project has been reviewed to take a detour through Katsina to Niger Republic Border.
Ever heard of Idi Umoru? He is Fulani from the Niger Republic. In 1984, he contested against Aja Nwachukwu an Igbo from Nigeria for the position of Secretary-General of the Organization of African Unity. Guess what? against pleading from Julius Nyerere of Tanzania and Jomo Kenyatta, Buhari voted against his country Nigeria for the man from the Niger Republic. Mind you, Buhari was the ruler of Nigeria then. Yet, he voted against the country he was ruling in favour of his kinsman.
Recently, there was an outrage at the announcement that a contract for the sum on $1.9 billion had been awarded for the construction of a Rail line from Kano, through Katsina, to the Nigerian/Niger Republic border.
Do I still need to connect the dots, or are you now able to read between the lines?
Ask Rotimi Amechi and Fashola and be pleasantly surprised at the other projects been sighted in other neighbouring countries by the APC led federal government.