By Lawrence Olaoye
Nigeria and Russia yesterday in Sochi, Russia, signed an important Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which will enable both countries’ oil giants, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Russia’s Lukeoil to elevate commercial relationship to a government-to-government backed partnership.
According to a statement made available to newsmen by the Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on media and publicity, with signing of the MoU, NNPC and Lukeoil will work together in upstream operations and revamp Nigeria’s refineries.
Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mele Kyari and Vagit Alekperov, President of leading Russian oil company, Lukeoil, signed the MoU, which entails cooperation in deep offshore exploration of oil in Nigeria, production, trading and refining.
The signing ceremony, which took place on the sidelines of the Russia-Africa Summit, was witnessed by the Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva.
Earlier in his remarks at a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Lenin, Buhari said Nigeria was prepared and willing to work with Russian businesses “to improve the efficiency of our oil and gas sector which provides us with the much-needed capital to invest in our security, infrastructure and economic diversification programmes”.
While taking note of the agreement between NNPC and Lukeoil, the President gave an assurance that his administration will “ensure this initiative is implemented within the shortest possible time.”