*Ghana, others target Dangote Refinery for fuel import
By Chesa Chesa (Abuja) and Ibrahim Obansa (Lokoja)
Nigeria and the Kingdom of Morocco on Monday in Rabat, Morocco, signed three agreements, which included a regional gas pipeline that will see Nigeria providing gas to countries in West Africa sub-region, Morocco and Europe.
The agreements witnessed by President Muhammadu Buhari and the King of Morocco, His Majesty King Mohammed V1, followed a meeting between the two African leaders which focused on strengthening economic relations in gas resource development, global investments and agricultural training and management.
The feasibility study of the agreement on the pipeline, which was signed by the Group General Manager (Gas) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr. Farouq Said Garba, and Mrs. Amina Benkhadra, the Director-General of the National Office of Hydrocarbon and Mines, will be concluded by July 2018.
The construction of the pipeline will be phased and based on increasing needs of the countries across Africa and Europe, for the period of 25 years, the Presidency said on Monday.
The Nigeria-Morocco Gas Pipeline (NMGP) designed to be 5,660km long, will reduce gas flaring in Nigeria and encourage the diversification of energy resources in the country, while cutting down poverty through the creation of more jobs.
The NMGP will also encourage the utilisation of gas in the sub-region for cooking and discourage desertification.
At the ceremony, the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Nigeria Sovereign Wealth Authority, Mr. Uche Orji and the Chief Executive Officer of the Office of the Management of Phosphate in Morocco, Mr. Mostafa Terrab signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the development of a chemical plant in Nigeria for producing ammonia and its derivatives.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh and his Moroccan counterpart, Mr. Aziz Akhannouch, signed a cooperation agreement on vocational training and technical supervision to enhance skills on better management of agricultural outfits in Nigeria.
*Nigerians intellectually aggressive, economically ambitious -Buhari
Also yesterday, President Buhari declared in Rabat, that Nigeria’s strongest selling point remains an “intellectually aggressive and economically ambitious” populace that always seeks self-improvement and self-actualisation in any part of the world.
He spoke during an audience with the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Morocco, Saadeddine Othmani, at the Royal Guest Palace.
According to Buhari, Nigeria’s “visionary and resilient population’’ works hard to always position the country for more growth, fuelled by a largely youthful group that continually wants to contribute to development.
“Nigerians are intellectually aggressive and economically ambitious. I received some of our students here and I am really impressed with the zeal and fearlessness they exuded.
“In Nigeria we have a very young and aggressive population and we are working very hard to create the enabling and inclusive environment for their contributions to be better appreciated,’’ the President said.
He assured his hosts that his administration was harnessing the human and material resources available in the country, especially in the educational and agricultural sectors, while seeking partnerships with countries which can explore the huge potential in Nigeria.
The President noted that Nigeria was on the verge of an agricultural revolution as the importation of rice had been cut down by 90 per cent in 18 months.
“We are happy that through partnership with you and hard work, the price of fertiliser is already down by 50 per cent,’’ he said.
On the three agreements signed during his visit, namely: Nigeria-Morocco Gas Pipeline project, vocational training in agriculture and building of a chemical plant in Nigeria, the President the Prime Minister that they will receive appropriate attention.
“We have a huge gas reserve in Nigeria, and we should be known more for gas exploration than for crude oil. So, we are happy with the new partnership with Morocco,’’ he added.
In his remarks, the Prime Minister said that his country had always been impressed by Nigeria’s intellectual zeal and strength, noting that “many Moroccans appreciate the intellectual contribution of Nigerians, especially in literary works”.
President Buhari also met with the head of the Moroccan legislature, Habib El Malki and the President of the Advisers on Commerce, Ben Chemmas.
The Nigerian leader ended his two-day visit to Morocco with a visit to the mausoleum where he laid wreaths on the tombs of past kings.
Buhari has already returned from Morocco.
*Ghana, others to import fuel from Dangote Refinery
In a similar development, the Dangote Group said some African countries and Bulk Oil Distributors based in Ghana have begun arrangements with it to import petroleum products from its $12bn Dangote Refinery, a year to its completion and commissioning.
In a statement by the Dangote’s Corporate Communication Department, the Group said Indications from this year’s Ghanaian International Petroleum Conference (Ghipcon 2018) showed that countries which have been depending on the international market for the supply of refined petroleum products would rather buy from the Dangote Refinery due to the proximity of the refinery to their countries.
Dangote said that some distributors and marketers from various countries were eager to know how they could key in for supplies into the 650,000 barrel per day refinery.
According to the statement, the special guest of honour, President Nana Akufo-Addo, who was represented by Vice President Mahamud Bawumia, was given a tour of the Dangote Refinery exhibition at Ghipcon, where work done was presented to him and the Minister of Energy for Ghana, Hon. Boakye Agyarko.
“The Vice President and other guests were amazed by the sheer size of the project and work done so far. Vice President Bawumia commended Alhaji Aliko Dangote on the massive project which is 100 per cent privately funded. He expressed the hope that Ghana would stand to benefit from the project when it is completed”.
Mr. Babajide Soyode, Technical Adviser to the President/Chief Executive of Dangote Group on Refinery and Petrochemical Matters, and special guest speaker at the event, expressed his delight on the pace at which construction was going with the completion of the Ro-ro Jetty.
He said the Nigerian government had been supportive of the refinery, citing the visit of the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr. Ibe Kachikwu at the Lekki Free Trade Zone, that the government would support efforts toward its completion.