THE Nigerian NationalÂ Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Russian Energy giant, Gazprom have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to establish an all encompassing joint venture coampany called â€˜NiGaz Energy Company Limitedâ€™ in pursuit of plans to monetise the countryâ€™s huge gas reserves.
Dr. Levi Ajuonuma, Group General Manager, NNPC Group Public Affairs made the disclosure in a statement released at the weekend
The company will be involved in developing Nigeriaâ€™s domestic gas exploration and production activities, processing, transportation, marketing, infrastructure development, pipeline construction, power development, training and capacity building as well as exchange of personnel among others.
Mr. Mohammed Sanusi Barkindo, the NNPC Group Managing Director (GMD) signed on behalf of the corporation while Mr. Boris Ivanov, Director, Gazprom Netherlands endorsed the deal on behalf of Gazprom.
Barkindo described the agreement as a giant step that would comfortably fit into the transformation going on in the industry and a veritable vehicle for strengthening the bilateral relations between Nigeria and Russia.
â€œThis is a laudable feat that will go a long way to monetizeÂ Nigeriaâ€™s huge gas reserves as well as boost the revenue base of the country,â€ Barkindo said.
â€œThe signing of the MOU on the company demonstrated our resolve to strengthen our bilateral relations as well as our commitment to pursue a common goal,â€ the GMD said.
Ivanov said his company welcomed the opportunity to partake in the JV company and was ready to bring its expertise and experience to bear on the new company and add value for the benefit of all parties involved.
Arrangements are in top gear to establish a Company Structure, Board of Directors and Management team. The signing of the MOU followed discussions between President Umaru Musa Yarâ€™Adua and the former Russian President, Mr. Vladimir Putin during the G-8 meeting in Germany in 2007.
A joint Steering Committee was set up to drive the process which culminated into the signing of the agreement during the one-day working visit to Nigeria of the current Russian President, Dmitry Medvedev.Nigeria has the worldâ€™s seventh-largest proven gas reserves and Gazprom provides a quarter of Europeâ€™s gas.