Nigeria and India made what many would see as representing good business sense in pledges on Thursday in Abuja during a business visit by Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Abhay Thakur, to the group managing director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mele Kyari,
Whereas Kyari offered the commitment of the NNPC to maintain the supply of 10 percent of India’s crude oil demand, Thakur put on the table an offer to provide credit line to the state-owned oil company to help revamp its obsolete infrastructure. Both men were meeting for the first time since Kyari took over the leadership of the NNPC Monday 8 July, following his appointment by President Muhammadu Buhari.
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between the two countries has meant Nigeria has been meeting 10 percent of India’s growing crude oil demand for sometime now. With the appointment of Kyari to lead the NNPC, the visit by the Indian high commissioner is seen as an opportunity to extract some commitments in the face of competition in demand for Nigerian crude in the international market; and before Kyari begins to stamp his own policy direction at the corporation.
Ndu Ughamadu, NNPC’s group general manager, group public affairs division, in a statement made available to businessamlive.com, quotes Kyari as saying Nigeria, through the corporation, would continue to support India’s energy security, and pledged that a recent MoU in the area of energy between Nigeria and India would be consummated to further strengthen the bilateral relations between the two countries.
Kyari is also reported as stating that NNPC was desirous of growing the energy cooperation with India and that it was time to progress from just talking to walking the talk, describing India as a very important market and that NNPC would ensure that the current volume of crude oil supply from Nigeria to India is secured for the collective interest of both countries.
“We are ready to have a robust engagement with the Indian trade team to provide a win-win energy scenario between us. Every trade opportunity that is available will be fully explored,” Kyari is quoted to have said.
Indeed, Kyari said there were lots of untapped investment opportunities in Nigeria’s Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) space, expressing willingness on the part of the corporation to aggressively improve LPG infrastructure and consumption in the country.
Abhay Thakur, the high commissioner, who made his country’s commitment at the business meeting, express thanks to NNPC’s management for recently renewing the crude oil term contracts for three Indian companies, and asked for consideration of an increase in the crude oil supply in view of the increasing energy needs of India.
According to Ughamadu, Thakur then said his country was prepared to provide credit line mechanisms and expertise to help NNPC revamp its massive infrastructure across the country.
“India is prepared to offer Nigeria and particularly the NNPC a credit line mechanism to help her in the areas of refinery maintenance, construction, security, surveillance and anything possible. Our expertise in Information Technology (IT) is available as well. We are ready to cooperate with NNPC to boost our bilateral relations,” Thakur is quoted to have said.