NNPC, Afrexim Bank Open Talks on Funding Refineries’ Repair

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•Mele Kyari restates urgency for PIB passage

Chineme Okafor in Abuja

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has commenced talks with the African Export and Import Bank (Afrexim Bank) on funding of the repair of the country’s refineries in Warri, Kaduna and Port Harcourt.

This is just as the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mallam Mele Kyari, has reiterated that the passage of the longstanding Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) into law would be the right action for the country’s oil and gas industry to be globally competitive.
A statement yesterday by the corporation said the bank’s possible funding of other key downstream and midstream infrastructure projects of the NNPC was also being negotiated.

The statement by the Acting Group General Manager in charge of the Public Affairs of the NNPC, Mr. Samson Makoji, expressed the corporation’s readiness to collaborate with any financial institution willing to finance its critical projects.
It said Kyari hosted the Executive Vice President of Afrexim Bank, Mr. Amr Kamel, and other top officials of the bank when this business conversation held.

Kyari reportedly said in response to the bank’s desire to participate in the Nigerian oil industry that the corporation was open to financial and technical partnership with reputable financial institutions like the Afrexim bank to develop the industry.
He said: “We have a number of financing needs; it depends on how much you are bringing to the table. We need support particularly in refineries rehabilitation, depot optimisation and pipelines financing.”
According to him, the corporation is ready to work with the bank, adding: “we will provide you with basic information. We are ready to talk to you.”

The statement also quoted Kamel as saying that he was in NNPC to congratulate Kyari and his management team on behalf of the board and management of the bank, which he added thought it imperative to interact with NNPC, being a key player in one of the most viable sectors of the Nigerian economy with a view to seeking collaboration on ways to further grow the oil and gas sector.
He said apart from financing of refineries rehabilitation and other downstream projects, the bank was interested in participating in some other projects such as the Ajaokuta-Kaduna- Kano (AKK) pipeline system.

Meanwhile, Kyari has stated that to accelerate Foreign Direct Investment (FID), the federal government is ready to work with the National Assembly and all other stakeholders to pass the long-awaited Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).
He made this commitment while making a presentation at the 25th anniversary edition of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) with the theme: ‘Rethinking the Future of Extractives’.
Another statement from the corporation quoted him as saying that for Nigeria to make the most of its oil industry, passage of the bill was imperative.

According to him, the bill has the prospect to guarantee a robust fiscal regime, protect the environment, ensure development of host communities, ensure proper alignment with other sectors and encourage investors to expand their investments in Nigeria.
He said: “Getting the petroleum legislation passed is the right thing to do because investors will not invest their money if they are not sure of how they are going to get their investment back and what benefits can they get from their investment and how stable the investment climate is.
“We must resolve the petroleum legislation and I am aware that this administration is working assiduously to get the law passed within the shortest frame of time.”
He stated that the petroleum law, when passed, would create a robust fiscal regime that would make the oil industry competitive and expressed optimism that International Oil Companies (IOCs) in the country would be spurred to invest more in the petroleum sector after the passage of the bill.
The NNPC boss assured investors and others that before the petroleum legislation is passed, a lot of fora would be organised to get inputs from relevant stakeholders, saying that the proposed law would be aligned to best practices and it would be a win-win for all.