BY Onome Amuge
Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea have commenced talks on strengthening commercial bilateral relations aimed at increasing and utilising gas production and supply for the benefit of both countries.
Gabriel Lima, Equatorial Guinea’s minister of mines and hydrocarbons, made the disclosure while speaking to newsmen in Abuja following the recent unveiling of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited.
“Equatorial Guinea is working closely with Nigeria regarding the possibility of utilising the gas for the benefit of both people, especially for the purpose of eradicating energy poverty,” Lima said.
He said Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea were working on the possibility of signing a bilateral agreement that would allow more commercial activities to happen between both countries.
“So we are just continuing with this cooperation with the aim that very soon we can start the commercial deals between Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea especially on the utilization of gas,” he said.
Lima further explained that strengthening the bilateral relations between Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea goes beyond the oil and gas sector as it also includes expanding trade, establishing a direct air link between both countries, sharing expertise, among others.
According to the minister, the Russia-Ukraine war had imposed a myriad of challenges on Africa, but also presented some opportunities that could be exploited for the benefit of the continent.
Based on this, he stressed the need for oil and gas-producing African countries to learn from the negative impact of the Russia-Ukraine war on their economies and focus on creating their own market. He also urged gas-producing African countries to increase gas production for export to generate more revenue.
“The lesson is that we need to focus on creating our own market for many years rather than depending on exporting our products out of the continent,” he said.
Lima pointed out that the lack of infrastructure has been a stumbling block to many African countries in the creation of an expansive market to boost competitiveness in the global market.
“One of the critical things is to focus on how we can create our own market. One of the key solutions is to have more interconnections probably by pipelines that go with oil, gas, LNG,” he proposed.
The minister also urged African countries to deepen collaboration as a strong regional bloc rather than individually.
“Another key thing is that we need to start thinking regionally rather than in just one country. If you put together Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, Congo, Gabon, it is not enough market. But if you put together Nigeria, Ghana, the Equatorial Guinea, DRC, that is when we are talking about serious business,” he said.