The French Minister for Foreign Trade and Economic Attractiveness, Franck Riester says the new contract between French hydrocarbons company Axens and Nigerian industrial conglomerate BUA Group to build a large refinery will be beneficial for bilateral relations.
Riester disclosed this in his Twitter handle.
He said the idea was a step in the right direction, given that both countries’ economies were rocked by the coronavirus pandemic.
Axens and BUA Group signed a deal on the new refinery project in Paris on Tuesday.
According to the agreement, Axens gets to license the key refinery technologies to the BUA Group.
The refinery is expected to start operating by 2024 and will have the capacity to produce 200,000 barrels per day.“As both France & Nigeria face a tough challenge ahead because of #COVID-19, I believe that tightening our bonds will allow us to become more resilient.
“This deal is a very positive signal for the French-Nigerian partnership,” Riester wrote on Twitter.Abdul Samad Rabiu, the CEO of BUA Group, who attended the signing ceremony, said that the project was vital for Nigeria, which currently imports 90 per cent of petroleum products and expects to lower the imports of refined fuel.
Axens won the project over U.S. company Honeywell UOP.
Rabiu, who was appointed as the chairman of the Franco-Nigerian Investors’ Club, initiated by French President Emmanuel Macron, said in an interview to the France-based The Africa Report magazine that the French leader “has given special determination and support to this project.”
According to CEO of Axens Jean Sentenac, the contract is profitable for the French economy, which has been battered by the COVID-19 pandemic.The project site is to be located in Nigeria’s southeastern Akwa Ibom state.
According to the contract, its production will include export to other African countries but will prioritise the domestic market. (Sputnik/NAN)