Nigeria and Russia have signed a 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. Mele Kyari, the Group Managing Director of NNPC, and Vagit Alekperov, the 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.
Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, said in a statement issued on Thursday night that NNPC and Lukeoil will work together in upstream operations and revamp Nigeria’s refineries with the signing of the MoU.
The signing ceremony, which took place on the sidelines of the Russia-Africa Summit in Sochi, Russia, was witnessed by the Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva. Earlier in his remarks at a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Lenin, President Muhammadu 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”. President Buhari, who took note of the agreement between NNPC and Lukeoil, gave an assurance that his administration will “ensure this initiative is implemented within the shortest possible time.”