NNPC, Petrobras Seal Pack On Petroleum Refining

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The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has concluded plans to be an exporter of refined petroleum products, under a strategic partnership with Brazil’s oil giant- Petrobras.

Already, NNPC has targeted United States of America, Brazil and some other parts of the world as its market for the value-added products.

Indeed, the oil company, which had been a leading exporter of crude oil in Africa, said the new focus would bolster its revenue base, on a sustainable basis.

The Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mr Austen Oniwon, who made this known to newsmen  in Brasilia, Brazil, said his organisation had since indicated its interest to invest in Petrobras’s plan to expand its refinery in Texas, U.S., from 100,000 barrels to 200,000 barrels per day.

“We indicated to them our interest to partner with the company to have an outlet into American market instead of exporting just crude to the American market.”

“We can take Nigerian crude, which is also going into American market anyway, into this refinery, process and sell as value added product into the American market.”

“This is something that is going to be beneficial to NNPC and Nigeria as a country,” he said.

Oniwon further said that the NNPC and Petrobras had concluded discussions to enter into a marketing and trading, gas and power development as well as research and development.

He said officials of Petrobras would be coming to Nigeria in February to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the NNPC for the take off of the partnership.

“They (Petrobras) hope that we will be able to jointly explore the vast hydro carbon  deposit in Nigeria, especially in the deep offshore  since the MoU is going to embrace worldwide operations.

“As partners, we will be able to join Petrobas to operate in their businesses and share their assets outside Nigeria,” he added.

Oniwon expressed hope that the MoU would also enable Nigeria to develop its gas sector, for the smooth operation of the various power plants being constructed in the country.

According to him, President Goodluck Jonathan has focused on the development of power plants in Nigeria and most of these would be driven by gas.

He, therefore, stressed the need for Nigeria to develop its gas sub-sector, primarily for domestic consumption to power the power sector.

Oniwon also said he was optimistic that the MoU would address the challenges of infrastructural deficiencies in the nation’s oil and gas sector.

“We need partners because the infrastructure that is going to deliver this gas to the various power plants is inadequate at the moment and their provision is going to cost a lot of money.

“But with the new government policy whereby the cost of power has been reviewed upward, it has made business and investments in gas project very lucrative

“We believe that Petrobras will be eager to join with NNPC to develop the gas resources primarily for domestic use and for export because they are also short of gas in Brazil,” he said.