The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Engineer Austen Oniwon today in Abuja called on South Africa to partner with Nigeria to explore the plentiful investment opportunities abound in the nation’s energy sector.
Engr Oniwon made the call while receiving the South African High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. J. N. Kingsley Mamabolo, who paid a courtesy visit to the NNPC Towers.
Engr Oniwon, who described the opportunities in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry as “limitless” said through partnership in the energy sector, the two “African giants” stand to gain a lot for the benefit of the their nations.
“Nigeria is ready to partner with South Africa in order to harness and develop the natural gas endowment of the nation from upstream to the downstream in order to move the continent forward,’’ the GMD noted.
He added that President Goodluck Jonathan has initiated some key projects which in the next four years will enable the nation to utilize maximally its abundant gas resources towards national development.
Key among these projects includes the Gas Revolution aimed towards industrialization and especially improving the nation’s power generation capacity from 4, 000 mw to 40, 000mw by 2020.
According to the GMD, the Federal Government’s amnesty programme is yielding the desired result leading to increased crude oil production, noting that Nigeria is on the march to greatness again.
The GMD said Nigeria and NNPC in particular would welcome the opportunity to partake in the planned 400,000 barrel per day refinery by the South African government, stressing that such an opportunity would guarantee crude oil supply to South Africa.
The GMD also called on African countries to continue to collaborate with one another aimed at developing the entire region for the benefit of their citizens and the continent.
“The future of the black race lies in our hands and only we can realize our full potentials. It is high time African countries co-operated with one another in order to strengthen our various economies,’’ the opined.
According to him, the Asian Tigers and the Middle East we see today are very good examples of internal co-operation for economic development, they all looked inwards first and today they are where they are.
Responding, the envoy said Nigeria and South Africa have a lot in common, with strong political relations dating back to his country’s struggle against apartheid.
He said: “South Africa benefited a lot from Nigeria’s support during that trying period of its political history. As a country in the continent and even at the United Nations, Nigeria always represents a symbol of African unity.”
The High commissioner welcomed the request of the GMD to partake in the 400,000 b/d refinery in South Africa.
He said his visit was informed by the need to strengthen the relationship between Nigeria and South Africa given the latter’s high demand of energy.