Nigeria and Niger Republic have been urged to fast track the construction of the Katsina Refinery to improve economic relations between the two nations.
In an interview with Voice of Nigeria, the Governor of Katsina State, Aminu Masari said that the refinery, when completed would accelerate economic activities of the border state, and provide job opportunities to the people.
Governor Masari said the state government had allocated a suitable location in Mani and Mashi local governments, where the refinery would be situated and offered to provide security to protect the installations.
The agreement for the construction of the refinery between Nigeria and Niger, signed a year ago, includes China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), which holds eighty percent of the proven oil reserve and the operating permit handling the project.
Governor Aminu Masari told Voice of Nigeria in Katsina that the proposed refinery would utilize the projected 5,000 barrels per day, crude oil from Niger Republic to provide the needed energy for the state and its neighbors.
The MoU followed the upstream approval granted by the Niger government to the Chinese oil company for the Agadem PSC exclusive exploration area 3, the production area expected to feed the Katsina refinery.
The Memorandum of Understanding also provides for the construction of an export pipeline from the Agadem Rift Basin (ARM) to the proposed new refinery in Katsina State.
The refinery project also has the buy-in of Savannah Petroleum PLC, the British independent oil and gas company focused on activities in Niger and Nigeria.
The Savannah Petroleum Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Andrew Knott said: “We expect the Niger-Nigeria export project to provide one of the potential routes to market for Savannah’s existing and future discoveries in Niger.’’
It’s expected that delays basically caused by the stand of the China National Petroleum Corporation, CNPC, on the need to agree to the Nigerien project rather than that proposed on the Benin republic route, would be finalized soon.
The Nigerien Minister of Petroleum, Mr. Foumakoye Gado, said last year, that ” to run a pipeline from Agadem to Benin Republic seaport is like 2080km which will be very costly compared to Agadem-Katsina which is just 120 to 150 km.’’
Also speaking, Head of the joint technical team for the Katsina refinery project, Mr. Rabiu Suleiman said: “We are discussing on how the Chinese can withdraw from the understanding they have with BeninRepublic without litigation and come back to Nigeria and dedicate crude oil for Nigeria.’’