Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons, Equatorial Guinea, Gabriel Lima, says Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea are in talks to enter into a commercial partnership to boost their gas production.
Lima disclosed this to journalists yesterday, at the unveiling of the NNPC Limited in Abuja, which officially transformed NNPC from a wholly state-run organisation to a commercial oil company.
According to Lima, strengthening the bilateral relations with Nigeria on oil and gas is geared toward eradicating energy poverty, increasing and utilizing gas supply for the benefit of African citizens.
He said: “Equatorial Guinea is working closely with Nigeria regarding the possibility of utilizing the gas for the benefit of our people, especially for the purpose of eradicating energy poverty.
“And, we are working on the possibility of signing a bilateral agreement that will allow more commercial activities to happen between Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea.
“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.”
Lima noted that as much as the Russian-Ukraine war has had both positive and negative impact on Africa, it is also important to leverage on the positives for the benefit of the continent.
He said this was also the time for gas producing countries of Africa to increase gas production for export to generate more revenue.
One of the critical things is to focus on how we can create our own market to see one of the key solutions is to have more interconnections probably by pipelines that go with oil, gas, LNG.
Russia, Ukraine war
Lima, however, urged oil and gas producing African countries to learn from the negative impact of the Russian-Ukraine war on its economies and focus on creating their own market.
“As an oil and gas producer, the Russian-Ukraine war has positive and negative effects. Of course, the positive is very clear.
“For the first time in the history of Equatorial Guinea, we have been able to have more revenue by gas than oil, which is very good for the Ministry of Finance.
“But at the same time, it has been a negative because we are still an importing country of refined products, so our refined products have been skyrocketed and some of our refined products are subsidized.
“So, in the short term, it is a good benefit but in the long term we are very worried that it will be a demand destruction.
“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.
“We have big countries, economies in Africa like South Africa, Morocco, even Nigeria and to be able to do that we need to focus on how to create those markets.
“The biggest problem of that is the lack of infrastructure, and this is where I talk about terminals, because it is very sad to say that even though we are a big producer, even though we can export cargo of one million barrels.
“One of the critical things is to focus on how we can create our own market to see one of the key solutions is to have more interconnections probably by pipelines that go with oil, gas, LNG,” Lima said
The minister said it would also be more beneficial for countries to collaborate and work as a bloc rather than individually.
“Another key thing is that we need to start thinking about regionally rather than 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 added.
Lima argued that strengthening the bilateral relations between Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea goes beyond the oil and gas sector to expanding trade, establishing a direct air link between both countries, and sharing expertise among others. (NAN)