Chineme Okafor in Abuja
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) wednesday said it could add a new buyer to its list of customers for Nigeriaâ€™s crude oil blends and Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) following indications from the Hungarian government that it is interested in doing oil business with the country.
The NNPC stated in a statement from its Group General Manager, Public Affairs, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu in Abuja, that Hungaryâ€™s interest in Nigeriaâ€™s crude oil was made known to it by its Ambassador to Nigeria, Prof. Gabor Ternak, when he made a courtesy call on its Group Managing Director, Dr. Maikanti Baru.
Ternak, it noted, explained that the decision to import crude oil and LNG from Nigeria was informed by the need to bridge the current supply gap being experienced in Hungary.
NNPC also said the intention was coming at a time the international crude oil market is getting more competitive.
â€œHungary depends on oil importation to serve its energy needs as the country is non-oil producing. We want to diversify our sources of crude oil and LNG import and we are considering purchasing these products from Nigeria,â€ said Ternak in the statement.
He said the Nigerian crude oil would be useful to Hungarian refineries involved in large scale commercial refining.
He also stated that Nigeria could leverage on the bi-lateral relationship it has with Hungary by engaging the services of Hungarian firms that specialise in repairs, maintenance and building of refineries as well as medical services.
According to him, Hungarian universities with many years of oil and gas engineering expertise could assist Nigeria in the areas of capacity building of her oil workers.
The statement equally quoted Baru, to have stated that the NNPC had commenced tendering process for the selection of the 2018 crude oil off-takers, and that Hungarian companies could utilise the opportunity and participate in the exercise.
He said: â€œIf you donâ€™t participate in the tendering process, you would have to buy the products from one of the traders. However, if you participate with companies and refineries that meet our requirements, they could be shortlisted as off-takers.â€
He explained that Hungary could purchase LNG through â€œspot cargo,â€ an arrangement in which excess production is given to registered off-takers with the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Limited (NLNG).
â€œNormally, gas business is a long-term business and NLNG is not different, we already have existing 20-year contract that will expire by 2022. Nevertheless, we have what is called â€œspot cargoesâ€, when there is excess production, and the current contractors have gotten there share as enshrined in the contract, the excess production will be given to registered off-takers in the system,â€ Baru explained.
He said Hungarian companies could submit their profile to NLNG for possible engagement as off-takers of spot-cargoes after meeting the standard requirements
Baru, also stated that works on refurbishment of NNPCâ€™s refineries in Warri, Port Harcourt, and Kaduna through original builders of the plants had commenced and that Hungarian firms with requisite expertise could be considered through subcontracting by the main contractors.