L-R: Sheikh Abdullah Al Ghurair, Sheikh Awad Al Mungir, and Director, Nigeria Trade Centre (NTC), Dubai, Mohammed Aliyu Baiwa
By Kunle Aderinokun
The Nigerian foreign direct investment is about to receive a boost as one of United Arab Emirates’ (UAE’s) business moguls and richest men, Abdullah Al Ghurair, has indicated interest in investing in the oil and gas, power, financial, agriculture and mining sectors of the country’s economy.
A trade and investment source, who made this known to THISDAY, said Al Ghurair was concluding arrangements to meet with chief executives and officials of various sectors of the economy, with a view to identifying the specific areas of investment.
Al Ghurair is the chairman of Mashreqbank and also oversees a wide variety of businesses that have helped in bringing prosperity to the UAE from the earliest days of the country's rapid development. These include home-grown, UAE-based, regional and international spanning in 20 countries.
UAE ventures include the Al Ghurair Retail City; National Flour Mills; National Cement Company; and the diversified ETA - Ascon Group, among many others. In his public roles, Abdullah Al Ghurair serves as chairman of the UAE Bankers' Association and a member of the Dubai Council for Economic Affairs.
The source noted: "Abdullah Ahmad Al Ghurair is a visionary businessman and one of the pioneers of banking in the Arab world. Thanks to his vision, he established Mashreqbank even before the formation of the UAE and has continued to develop it into one of the most progressive financial institutions in the Gulf region.”
Also as part of his businesses, a UAE-based conglomerate, Al Ghurair Investment (AGI) operates 32 diversified subsidiaries in real estate, construction and engineering, agriculture, education and other sectors.
Through a partnership with Hong Kong-based Amana Investments, AGI established subsidiary ETA Ascon Star Group ETA Ascon Star Group in 1973, to serve as a holding company. ETA has 47 subsidiaries operating in engineering and electromechanical contracting; switch yard and substation construction; desalination plants and cross country cabling; shipping and international bulk cargo traders; automotive; travel and leisure; education and IT services.
Similarly, Trans Asia Gas International LLC, which is an energy investment company based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, is a subsidiary of Al-Ghurair Group.
The company invests in oil and gas industry, power generation, and petrochemicals. It develops projects in Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa. Quantitatively, the key objective of Trans Asia Gas International is to produce over 400,000 barrels per day (64,000 m3/d) within the next few years(equivalent of 18 million tonnes) petroleum products.
Trans Asia Gas International relocated a $600 million refinery project from Italy to Pakistan. In Sri Lanka, it plans to relocate 100,000 barrels per day (16,000 m3/d) refinery to Hambantota in the south of the island. The company has invested also in Ra's Lanuf Refinery in Libya.
In March 2009, NOC and Al Ghurair signed an agreement forming a joint venture the Libyan Emirati Refining Company (Lerco). The refinery has a capacity of 220,000 barrels per day (35,000 m3/d).It produces fuel oil, gas oil, naphtha and kerosene. The complex also produces petrochemicals, utilizing naphtha as a feed stock.
It had expressed interest in participating in the Iran–Pakistan–India gas pipeline project. The company has licences to build two 130 megawatt power in Pakistan.