Saudi Arabia’s minister of energy, industry and mineral resources, Khalid Al-Falih, has hinted on the possibility of building an independent refinery in Nigeria.
The kingdom’s minister gave the hint during a meeting with Ibe Kachikwu, the minister of state for petroleum resources, in Riyadh, capital of Saudi.
Mr Kachikwu had on Tuesday met with Al-Falih and other top executives of Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest oil and gas company by revenue, with discussions bordering on collaborations between both nations in the oil and gas sector.
The Saudi-based energy conglomerate is expanding its downstream operations including refining and petrochemicals production and sees Nigeria as a gateway to other African countries.
Giving insight into the planned investment, Mr Kachikwu said Nigeria was looking towards Saudi Arabia because of the country’s successes in the oil and gas sector.
He said Nigeria is already setting up a team to make the plans come to fruition.
“We want to leverage on the huge success of Saudi government in terms of petroleum. Last year alone Saudi Aramco, an equivalent of NNPC made about $200 billion as profit,” he said.
“We have a lot of common ground, historical ties, and religious ties and there’s a need to move further.”
Mr Kachikwu had on Wednesday told Bloomberg that there are “very good prospects” for the federal government to sign deals with Saudi Arabia for investment in the nation’s four refineries.
“We are looking at cooperation along very multi levels. For example, we are asking for some investments into four of our refineries,” he had said.
“We are looking at the potential for Liquefied Natural Gas investment. We are looking at some straight trade deals in terms of our DSDP programme, to see how they (Saudi Arabia) can participate and bring in products into the country.”
Although it is one of Africa’s biggest crude oil producer, Nigeria currently imports the bulk of its petrol, with the nation’s four refineries operating far below installed capacity for many years.