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India seeks expansion of oil trade with Nigeria

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The Indian Government has registered its intention to seek a major expansion of its economic ties with Nigeria through increased participation in all sectors of the oil and gas industry in the country.

Speaking at the beginning of a two-day working visit to Nigeria, the Indian Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas, His Excellency, Shri Murli Deora remarked that his country was seeking to expand its purchase of Nigeria’s sweet crude which currently stands at 400,000 bpd, amounting to about $10 billion annually.

Deora stated that India through the Indian oil and gas conglomerate, ONGC Mital Energy Limited is willing to commit $350 million into the development of two oil blocs (OPLs 279 and 285) in the country’s upstream sector. He said as part of the bilateral investment package his country was ready to partner NNPC through ONGC for the establishment of  Greenfield Refinery in the country.

“Nigeria is currently India’s largest trading partner in Africa as far as oil and gas business is concerned with potential for more growth. We are importing about 400 million barrels, most of which are on spot basis from Nigeria.

We have a refinery of about 180 million tons and about 25 per cent of Indian import is from Nigeria alone. At the current value, it will be worth $10 billion from Nigeria alone. We will like to have more Nigerian crude on terms contract basis. Some Indian companies are already playing in Nigeria upstream sector. We will like to consider opportunities in Nigeria upstream sector. India has the capacity to work with Nigeria in the midstream and downstream,” he said.

Also the Group Managing Director of ONGC, Mr. R.S. Sarma said his company has been in touch with the NNPC towards the activation of the gas master plan among other projects.

“We have several companies from India that have come here. In the last several years, we have been talking with NNPC about a new Greenfield refinery in Port Harcourt. Feasibility studies have been completed,” he said while also announcing that ONGC has commenced  exploration of its two deepwater offshore blocks  (OPLs 279 and 285) this year and that drilling operation was in progress in one of the oil fields.

Speaking earlier, Odein Ajumogobia, the minister of State for Petroleum Resources, who stood in for the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Dr. Rilwanu Lukman at the reception stated that Nigeria was eager to expand its economic relationship with India which it described as the second largest buyer of Nigeria’s crude oil.

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