By Gift Olivia Samuel, The Sight News
ABUJA-In a bid to further the bilateral consultation between Nigeria and Saudi Arabia, to address the volatility in the global crude oil market, Nigeria’s Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, on Wednesday received the Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources of Saudi Arabia and Chairman of Saudi Aramco, His Excellency, Khalid A. Al-Falih in Abuja.
The Visit which according to the Saudi Arabia Minister was long overdue, is expected to bring about collaborations with Saudi Arabia to restructure Nigeria’s downstream petroleum sector.
Speaking during the meeting, Kachikwu disclosed that the Federal Government is seeking ways to collaborate with Saudi Arabia to revive Nigeria’s refineries and also restructure the downstream sector of the Nigerian petroleum industry.
“There are lots of other areas of collaboration that we have talked about, we are struggling with our refineries while Saudi Arabia is refineries self sufficient and massive exporters of refined products which is quite frankly a dream that I have longed for and we are looking at ways in which we will collaborate in these areas”, he said.
He further noted that, OPEC has been a very strong voice and actor in the oil sector, both in satisfying the needs of the Members of the OPEC family and stabilizing the market fundamentals with the rest of the world.
“Our philosophy is that, if the rest of the world are happy, especially the consumers, then we as producers will be a lot happier”, he remarked.
The Minister, stressed also, that there is an absolute resolve from both countries.
“Working together on some of the fundamentals has been a collaborative work. Saudi Arabia has a competitive 35% of OPEC volume so whatever happens in Saudi Arabia is critical to what happens in OPEC. There is a lot of relationship and they have the resources and they have done very well, working together as two historically unique countries will do us a whole lot more” he said.
In terms of whether Nigeria will seek to have an exemption if the output cuts are agreed upon, he noted that it is too early to say, adding however that Nigeria is very committed to working with OPEC.
On his part, Al-Falih, said that Saudi Arabia would not cut oil output on its own to stabilize the market.
“We have gone through great volatility, in the last few weeks, we have seen oil markets go through great volatility. 2019 is going to be a year that the oil market will be fairly stable” he noted.
While stating that the visit is a testament to the kind of relationship Nigeria and Saudi Arabia has, Al-Falih noted that the two countries are very close politically, culturally and socially; adding, that it is fair to say that Nigeria is the cornerstone within the African Continent, while Saudi Arabia is also the anchor of the Middle East.
He remarked, that the relationship between the two countries with leader positions, is important for Africa, the middle East and global stability.
Speaking on the bilateral energy relations, he explained that Saudi Arabia has become successful to a large degree, to becoming a major exporter, by building a number of large scale refineries through joint venture, adding that there has been technical success, public management and financial success as well as operational success which has led Saudi Arabia to become a major exporter of the value added crude products integrated with petrochemicals.
“I have invited His Excellency and he has kindly accepted that invitation to come and see first hand these manufacturing complexes and see from our team how to structure the investment opportunities to bring it here to Nigeria”, he said.
He further added that his visit today was long overdue, and expressed hopes to come back to Nigeria to deepen the relationship.
“We will seek areas of corporation that hopefully will transcend our own governments and countries”, Al-Falih stated.