THE coming of the world â€˜s gas giant Gazprom to Africaâ€™s biggest oil producer Nigeria would put an end to gas flaring, Alexander Polyakov, the Russian ambassador to Nigeria, said on Tuesday.
Polyakov made the remarks in the Nigerian capital Abuja ahead of a visit by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to Nigeria on Wednesday.
Medredev will be the first Kremlin leader to visit Nigeria since both countries established diplomatic ties almost 50 years ago.
The envoy said the highlight of the visit would be the signing of an agreement between Gazprom and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.
He said Gazprom, as the world biggest gas company, is eager to come to Nigeria to build up a long lasting mutual beneficial partnership. The Russian company will enhance the development of the gas industry in Nigeria, build new pipelines, develop infrastructure and put an end to gas flaring, the envoy pledged.
â€œGazprom is ready to adjust its activities in Nigeria to the guidelines of the National Gas Master plan that has been approved by President Umaru Yarâ€™Adua,â€ he said.
According to the envoy, key agreements to be signed also include the Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement and the Treaty on the Transfer of Prisoners.
Others are the Agreement of Cooperation in the Fields of Atomic Energy for peaceful purposes and the memorandum of understanding ( MoU) between the Russian Space Agency and Nigeriaâ€™s National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA).
Polyakov said the MoU signed in Moscow on March 18 during the visit of Nigeriaâ€™s Foreign Minister Ojo Maduekwe was the first step to atomic energy cooperation between the two countries, reiterating that the agreement is for peaceful purposes. â€œThis will be the second step and now hopefully, the agreement to creating and building atomic power energy plant in Nigeria,â€ he added.
The envoy said the plant had no connection with the intention of militarizing Nigeria. This is strictly within the framework of the International Atomic Energy Agency, he declared.
Polyakov said the cooperation between the Russian Space Agency and the NASRDA was very promising. Nigeria has very ambitious plan to launch the first outer space craft between 2015 and 2018, he said, adding that Russia could provide capacity building for the personnel. On the volume of bilateral trade between Russia and Nigeria, Polyakov said it stood at US $1.5 billion in 2008.