ABUJA May 9 (Naija247news) – Italian oil company Eni plans to build a crude refinery in Nigeria through its Agip subsidiary, the country’s oil minister said on Tuesday.
Agreement has been reached and a memorandum of understanding is being prepared, Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu told reporters after meeting Eni executives in Abuja.
Naija247news recalled that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corp. and Italian oil giant ENI (E, ENI.MI) in January signed a memorandum of understanding with ENI committing to further investment in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry, refurbishing an oil refinery in Port Harcourt and an expansion of the Okpai power plant.
Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, Nigeria`s minister of petroleum resources, said at a meeting with top ENI executives in Rome that his country wanted to reduce imports of petroleum products by 60% in 2018 and by 2019 to become a net exporter of petroleum products and value-added petrochemicals, according to a statement from his office.
Nigeria is Africa’s biggest oil producer but lacks refining capacity and has to import most of its fuel. It has two refineries in Port Harcourt–the country’s major oil hub–and neither runs at full capacity.
“The major plan of the federal government is to stop importation of petroleum products in the long term and it would be expedient that every international oil company should invest in building a refinery with a chain of distributions,” Mr. Kachikwu said during a presentation to ENI executives.
Under the MOU, ENI is also to build Phase Two of the Okpai power plant in Nigeria’s southern Delta state, a major oil and gas producing area in the Niger Delta.
The Okpai power plant built by the Nigerian Agip Oil Co., a subsidiary of ENI, currently generates 480 megawatts of electricity into the national grid but can be expanded to 960 megawatts, according to the NNPC.
Nigeria currently generates only about 4,000 megawatts for its population estimated at over 150 million leaving industries and homes without electricity for days.
Mr. Kachikwu is also to meet with 10 other oil companies in Italy to avail them of the opportunities in Nigeria`s oil and gas industry, the statement said.